BY JAMIE FOSTER
Donald Tusk getting involved in the UK General Election is strange. Maybe he is missing the limelight now that his EU role has ended and he is so easily seen through back in his homeland – increasingly Eurosceptic Poland. His suggestion that Remainers should not give up is also peculiar – what they are calling for in Revoke no longer exists. The UK cannot simply return to how things were before Article 50 was actioned.
It is a former British diplomat who has thrown a cat among the Remainer pigeons by suggesting that if they think we can merely revoke Article 50 and return to the EU on the same terms as before this may be a ‘dangerous misunderstanding.’ Sir Peter Marshall, an expert on multilateral diplomacy, warned that the UK may not be able to simply retake its position within the bloc. He said “ The Remainer prospectus is palpably false. We are not so much led as left to believe that if we don’t like whatever deal may be available, or if we don’t like Brexit at all, we have the right to remain in the EU on the same basis as at present.”
Sir Peter claimed all we know for certain is we have the right to revoke the notification of our intention to withdraw. He added “The European Court of Justice says nothing about the rights of the other 27 Member States in relation to such revocation. This can scarcely be a matter of surprise. As they see it we have been an existential threat, or at best a monumental nuisance.” Sir Peter claimed if Article 50 was revoked “we simply have no idea what might await us by way of conditions and complexities at the hands of the EU”.
The UK is not a member of the Schengen area nor are we signed up to the Euro. If we were to revoke Article 50, there is no guarantee the EU wouldn’t want to relook at these areas. In addition our rebate on the fees paid to the EU could come up for question. There is no guarantee that the EU would not wish to punish us for having invoked Article 50 in the first place and that they wouldn’t take this opportunity to improve their position.
Sir Peter Marshall’s warning couldn’t have come at a more apposite time with the Lib Dems promising to revoke Article 50 and the Labour Party promising a second referendum with remain on the ballot paper.The Remainers’ cosy idea of a prodigal son return to the welcoming arms of the EU could be a false paradigm. There is no knowing what the EU may decide to do if it turns out Brexit was merely a waste of their time and resources. It would be impossible to rule out a punishment beating given to the UK as a warning to others not to go down the route of leaving.
The clear way to avoid the problem is to vote Conservative in the election. If we get Brexit done we escape the possibility of a less than smooth return to the EU fold. If, heaven forfend, we were to return a Lib Dem or Labour government we would have no idea where our place in the EU might be. The safest course must be steady as she goes towards the exit. The danger remains, with the Brexit Party standing in all Labour marginals, that the Brexit Party splits the Brexit vote and prevents the Tories from gaining an overall majority. Any hung parliament holds the possibility of a Remainer coalition. If we were badly off in the EU before, it is impossible to tell where we might end up crawling back to the EU under a Remainer coalition.
The worst outcome of all is finding that we are stuck in the EU under a new set of onerous conditions imposed by an EU finding itself with an upper hand. We have to hope that the Conservatives are able to convince people to vote for them in sufficient numbers to get a real majority. Boris needs to be able to get his deal through the house and get us out of the EU. We need to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU and have the relationship with the EU we were always supposed to, one of free trading partners not an ever closer union.
We cannot take the risk that the EU will make our lives even worse as a result of staying. We must leave in an orderly fashion. The only way this can happen is if we return a Conservative government with a working majority. We will have to hope we can do it, the alternative is unthinkably grim.