65 Reasons Why MPs Should Have Stopped Brexit
Protect The UK’s Future:
Every government estimate of the impact of Brexit indicates that it will will harm the UK economically and the impact of new trade deals with other countries will be marginal. In addition, Brexit is likely to reduce the UK’s influence in Europe and the world as a whole as we are forced to rapidly negotiate trade deals with countries outside the EU. Leaving the EU will make the UK a mere follower as it will be obliged to follow the rules and regulations of the EU, USA and China.
Below are 65 reasons why MPs should have stopped Brexit.
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1. Johnson misled the Queen and illegally suspended parliament.
In September 2019, the highest court in the UK, the Supreme Court, unanimously found that de Pfeffel Johnson acted illegally by suspending parliament and he may have even lied to the Queen. The decision was solely concerned with the lawfulness of Johnson’s decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament. The court found that Johnson did not prorogue parliament to prepare for a Queen’s speech, but instead he did it specifically to stop parliament from doing its job of scrutinising government policy and holding it to account.
2. No-deal would be “high-jacking the referendum result” .
During the referendum no-deal was dismissed as ‘Project Fear’ or the worst possible outcome. Indeed, official Vote Leave literature claimed that no legal process would begin to leave the EU until a new deal with the EU had been negotiated. People were clearly led to believe that a good deal with the EU would be achieved and yet PM de Pfeffle Johnson now claims the UK should leave the EU without a deal to prevent any further delay in Brexit.
The ex-chancellor Philip Hammond has argued that a no-deal Brexit would be a betrayal of the referendum result. In a speech at the annual dinner of the CBI he criticised proponents of a no-deal Brexit as “high-jacking the referendum result” and putting their personal interests ahead of the national interest.
“Let me remind them: the 2016 leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal. So to advocate for no deal is to hijack the result of the referendum and, in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards. – Philip Hammond, 21st May 2019
3. Nigel Farage failed to declare £450,000 received from Arron Banks.
Arron Banks has said that he funded Nigel Farage to the tune of £450,000 after the EU referendum and yet Farage failed to declare this money to the European Parliament register of interests. As an MEP Nigel Farage should have declared such gifts to prevent them from keeping conflicts of interest a secret.
Under EU parliamentary rules, Nigel Farage could be fined up to €10,000 if he is found to have broken EU rules and could be suspended from the EU parliament for up to 30 days.
4. Brexit Party funding could allow foreign interference in British democracy.
The Brexit Party allows donations of less than £500 to be made via a PayPal account and Richard Tice, the Brexit Party’s chair and co-founder, acknowledged that he did not know if the PayPal account allowed the party to receive small donations in foreign currencies. Other parties collect personal information from donors and so the Brexit Party is open to abuse by foreign donors who wish to influence UK elections.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has asked the Electoral Commission to open an investigation as he said;
“Now Mr Farage heads a new Brexit Party, which is making questionable claims about the true source of its funding at a time when the Electoral Commission has warned of the dangers of multiple, small, anonymous donations being a cover for dirty money.”
5. Theresa May’s deal was defeated in Parliament by 230 votes.
On 15th January 2019, the government’s Brexit withdrawal deal was voted down by Parliament in the meaningful vote by 202 to 432 votes. This was the largest ever defeat of a government in the House of Commons and in normal times this would have resulted in the immediate resignation of the Prime Minster.
6. Theresa May knew Vote Leave broke the law before triggering Article 50.
Prime Minister Theresa May knew that Vote Leave had probably broken electoral law when she triggered Article 50 according to her legal council in the High Court on 7th December 2018. This was confirmed during the Article 50 challenge when the government tried to prevent the public and Parliament knowing that Article 50 could be revoked without the approval of other EU members.
This demonstrates how little respect Theresa May has for electoral law and that she is more interested in dealing with internal Conservative Party divisions than looking after the best interests of the country. Any statesman would put their country first rather than covering up for members of their own party who lied and cheated to win a referendum.
7. Putting a border in the Irish Sea:
- No one mentioned a “backstop” during the referendum campaign or putting a border in the Irish Sea. However, to remove the ‘backstop’ from the Withdrawal Agreement and to avoid hard border on the Island of Ireland, the UK and the EU have agreed to have customs checks between the UK and Northern Ireland.
- This essentially means that there will be a border in the Irish Sea. This means companies wishing to export goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the will have to complete a customs declaration.
8. Delaying the meaningful vote just ran the clock down by a month:
The historic ‘meaningful vote’ was originally due to take place on 11th December 2018. This was delayed by over a month because May expected she would lose the vote by a large margin. Theresa May promised she would return to Parliament with a deal after further negotiations with the EU, but in reality the EU was only willing to give a written reassurance that the backstop was intended as a short-term temporary measure.
As nothing about the deal changed and Theresa May still lost the vote when it returned to Parliament this was deeply irresponsible. It achieved nothing apart from using up another month before the UK leaves the EU.
9. Over 100 Tory MPs voted against the implementation of the Welsh assembly referendum result.
In a speech in Stoke on the day before the meaningful vote Theresa May planned to say that “When the people of Wales voted by a margin of 0.3%, on a turnout of just over 50%, to endorse the creation of the Welsh Assembly, that result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned.”
However, she was accused of hypocrisy because in 1999 May was among 144 Tory MPs who voted for an amendment to the Government of Wales Bill which would have blocked the implementation of the 1997 Welsh referendum. The 2005 Conservative manifesto also proposed holding a second Welsh referendum with the option to abolish the Welsh Assembly.
May, David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith et al also voted against the Bill to set up the Scottish Parliament after a 74% vote in favour in a referendum. This completely undermines May’s claim that Parliament is obliged to implement the 2016 advisory referendum result because MPs have always respected other referendum results in the UK.
10. Less than 40% of the electorate voted in favour of leaving the EU.
- 52% of people who voted chose to leave the EU, but given a turnout of 72% this means that only 37% of the total electorate actually voted in favour of leaving the EU. This figure would be even lower if you allow for the fact that adults aged between 16 and 17 were not allowed to vote, around a million ex-pats living in another member state for more than 15 years were also excluded from the vote. In addition EU citizens who mainly work and pay more than their fair share of taxes were also not given the opportunity to vote.
- Only 26% of the UK population voted to leave the EU. To call this the “will of the people” is a complete fallacy and is a dangerous use of a referendum result. Margaret Thatcher called referendum “a device of dictators and demagogues.” In 1859 the philosopher and civil servant John Stewart Mill argued that following the “will of the people” could be an “abuse power”. Stop Brexit as referendum are not appropriate for making such complex decisions.
11. EU officials lost confidence in UK’s ability to negotiate:
EU officials privately considered some aspects of Theresa May’s negotiating approach to Brexit as “insane” and “pathetic” a BBC documentary has shown. The programme shows that EU officials have lost confidence in the UK’s ability to negotiate as they need someone “stable, available and reliable” to hold discussions with.
Mr Verhofstadt’s chief of staff Guillamume McLaughlin was shocked when he was told a Brexit deal was called off because Mrs May could not get the agreement of the DUP leader Arlene Foster.
Officials also agreed that the then Brexit secretary David Davis did not “really give a f**k” about the Irish border even though it has probably been the biggest barrier to getting May’s deal agreed by parliament.
12. Theresa May attempted to ignore Parliamentary sovereignty.
- A British PM cannot trigger a General Election without the approval of 66% of all MPs. Why does Theresa May think she had the right to use a small majority in a referendum to force the UK to leave the EU? May tried to argue that she alone could trigger Article 50 despite the Conservative Government in 2010 confirming that referendum cannot be binding due to the sovereignty of parliament.
- What May attempted to do was unconstitutional and would have reduced the power of Parliament. Fortunately the Supreme Court confirmed the power of Parliament and May had to put a Brexit bill through Parliament. MP’s should be given the opportunity to stop Brexit if it’s not delivering the benefits it was sold on.
- May has also refused to allow parliament a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit deal by arguing that her hands must not be tied by parliament.
13. The Government was found in contempt of Parliament:
- Despite Brexit supposedly being about returning sovereignty to Parliament, Theresa May has done almost everything to avoid Parliament being allowed to demonstrate its sovereignty with regards to Brexit. On 4th December 2018 the government was found to be in contempt of Parliament by MP’s after ministers refused to publish the full legal advice it had received from the Attorney General on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
14. The UK will become a rule taker rather than a rule maker:
During the transition period the UK will have to continue to follow existing and new EU rules and regulations but it will no longer have any influence over such regulations. The UK will lose its EU commissioner, its MEPs and it’s seat at the table of EU members which currently allows it to initiate and shape EU legislation. This will reduce the sovereignty of Parliament rather than allow the UK to “take back control” as promised by Leave campaigners.
15. The Leave campaign deliberately overspent:
Leave.EU failed to report “at least” £77,380 it spent on the EU referendum and was fined £70,000 for breaches of election law by the Electoral Commission. It also referred Leave.EU chief executive Liz Bilney to the police as a result of its investigation into what it called “serious offences”.
16. The individual Leave campaigns illegally coordinated their campaigns:
In evidence to the Electoral Commission, Mark Gettleson, a communications consultant, said that two of Theresa May’s political advisers were among the senior directors at Vote Leave who helped with the activities of the youth group, BeLeave. BeLeave was a separate organisation and yet Vote Leave donated £625,000 to BeLeave. The money was then spent on digital advertising in the last critical few days of the campaign.
Donations are only legal if campaigns are run separate. Gettleson has given the Electoral Commission emails to and from Parkinson and Watson, that indicate they helped create BeLeave’s campaign materials. The emails also indicate that BeLeave was directed by Vote Leave. BeLeave have previously claimed it was a separate independent organisation.
Gettleson’s evidence disputes this and claims BeLeave had no dedicated staff. In his statement he claimed Darren Grimes, who headed BeLeave, worked as a part-time volunteer under the supervision of Vote Leave staff.
“I was providing support with the overarching message of BeLeave and website creation and Darren was working within Vote Leave and continually asking me, Stephen, Cleo and the Vote Leave design team for support and assistance.” – Mark Gettleson
17. The Leave campaign used stolen personal data to win the referendum:
Investigations by journalists and parliamentary committees suggest that Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ (AIQ) may have misused personal data as part of their work for Vote Leave and other leave campaigns. According to a former employee of Cambridge Analytica (CA), Brittany Kaiser, misuse of data was “rife” among the businesses and campaigns of Leave.EU chairman and ex-UKIP donor Arron Banks. Mr Banks asked CA for a joint strategy for Leave.EU, UKIP and Eldon Insurance.
Ex-CA employee Christopher Whylie told MEPs that members of the Leave campaign are working within Theresa May’s office and wanted to “stall any public inquiry until they have secured Brexit”.
“I don’t believe Brexit would have happened were it not for the data targeting technology and network of actors set up by Cambridge Analytica. “I don’t believe the Brexit result was won fairly or legitimately.” – Chrisopher Whylie
18. Russia attempted to influence the referendum result:
- There is increasing evidence that Russia tried to influence the referendum campaign. Analysis by digital experts 89up.org estimated that Russian funded social media outlets and Twitter bots generated over 130 million impressions with a value of around £4.1m.
- Emails seen by the Observer indicate that from November 2015, the Russian ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko, invited Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore to a number of events and meetings before the European referendum. The communications suggest that Banks and Wigmore were offered investments in lucrative gold mines for delivering Brexit. The documents indicate:
- Multiple meetings of the leaders of Leave.EU and Russian officials, from November 2015 to 2017. Two meetings took place in the week of the launch of the Leave.EU campaign.
- The Russian ambassador introduced Banks to a Russian businessman who offered Banks the opportunity to buy into Russian goldmines.
- A visit to Moscow in February 2016 to meet businessmen and financiers behind a gold project, including a Russian bank.
- Extensive communications with Russian contacts before the US election when Banks, and his associates supported Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Investigations by journalists also show deep relationships between Trump’s backers (e.g. Robert Mercer), his campaign team and Cambridge Analytica/AIQ. In addition many people with financial or political connections to Russia were heavily involved with the Brexit campaign. This suggests Russia helped to finance the Brexit campaign and tried to persuade voters to vote Leave by distributing anti-EU stories and social media posts.
19. The referendum was not binding and so is not a mandate to proceed with Brexit:
- The Government had the opportunity to make the referendum binding by requiring a super majority, 2:1 in favour and a 70% turnout, but instead asked Parliament for an advisory referendum. The Government rejected more than one attempt to introduce clauses that would have made the result binding.
- An advisory referendum is supposed to be just that because it would be reckless to base a major constitutional change on a simple slim majority without Parliament first debating it and voting on such a change. MP’s should be able to stop Brexit if they feel Brexit is not in the best interests of the country.
20. MP’s first duty is to do what is best for the country.
- Winston Churchill famously said the first duty of a MP is to do what he thinks is best for the country and secondly to represent his constituents. Theresa May appears to be ignoring this principle for internal party political reasons.
- Before the referendum 74% of the UK’s 650 MPs were in favour of remaining in the European Union. MP’s should stand up for their principles and do what is best for the UK rather than protect their party or job.
- Even Theresa May made the statement below about supporting the Remain campaign on the Andrew Marr show. Why is May now following a slim majority of people who voted to leave on the basis of many untruths and ignoring her own opinion that the UK would be better to remain in the EU?
21. The Leave Campaign had no plan or costings for leaving the EU.
- If someone proposes a major constitutional change the least you would expect is a carefully thought out implementation plan, including estimates of the costs and benefits of the change. Any proposal with so little effort put into the planning and implementation stage of the process deserves no respect and should not be taken forward until a credible plan is presented and put to Parliament. Parliament should stop Brexit because there is no credible plan to leave the EU and deliver the benefits that were presented to voters during the referendum.
22. David Davis misled parliament over the sectoral reports the Brexit department has conducted:
In June of 2017 David Davis told parliament – “We’ve already got 50, nearly 60 sector analyses already done,” suggesting that impact assessments had been completed into up to 58 sectors of the UK economy. In October 2017 he told parliament that impact assessment had been conducted in “excruciating” detail.
However, in early December 2017 David Davis told the Brexit committee that analysis of how leaving the EU could impact sectors do not exist at all. He claimed their “usefulness” for individual sectors was “near zero.”
The Department for Exiting the EU then provided the Brexit committee with summaries of 39 sectors that will be impacted by Brexit. These reports have now been published by the Brexit committee but do not assess how Brexit may impact the key sectors of the UK economy. All the reports provides is a summary of each sector and how it currently interacts with the EU. This contradicts what David Davis had previously told parliament and suggests he has misled parliament.
Labour MP Pat McFadden said: “The knots the Government has tied itself in over publication of these reports says more about the state of politics and the Government’s paranoid state of mind than it does about Brexit.
“There is little or nothing in them that couldn’t be learned from the annual reports of different trade bodies yet we were asked to believe that somehow revealing how many cars were made in Britain every year was an act of national treachery.”
A comparison of the report with information on Wikipedia suggests some of the information was simply copy and pasted.
In January 2018 secret Brexit impact assessments were leaked to Buzzfeed. These showed all scenarios evaluated are expected to adversely affect the UK economy. These again calls into question whether David Davis has mislead parliament about what analysis has been undertaken to assess the impact of Brexit.
23. People can change their minds.
- It is almost 3 years since the referendum and yet there is still no clear plan on how the UK can smoothly leave the EU and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Recent polls suggest that 56% of people would now vote to remain in the EU and only 44% would vote to leave the EU.
- Opinion polls are showing that an increasing proportion of people think the UK was wrong to vote to leave the EU and 73% of voters think Brexit negotiations are going more badly than expected.
- Another YouGov survey found that 54% of Leave voters are not prepared for their family finances to be affected by Theresa May prioritising immigration over the economy. Only 11% of people who supported Brexit said they would be prepared to be more than £100 a month worse off to get greater control over immigration.
- Given the predicted impact of Brexit on the economy and people’s lives it is only reasonable to give the electorate an opportunity to vote on the full details of the plan when it has been finalised.
24. The electorate were lied to about many of the potential benefits of leaving the EU.
- Although misinformation was a characteristic of both sides of the argument, the Leave campaign made a number of claims (e.g. Boris Johnson Brexit bus that £350m a week could go to the NHS instead of the EU and Turkey was about to join the EU) that have proved to be totally inaccurate and untrue.
- The Office for Budget Responsibility now estimates that the UK will only save £250m a week by leaving the EU and that most of the cost savings will be wiped out for a number of years due to the high cost of leaving the EU. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has calculated that each household in the UK is already £900 worse off because of the vote to leave the EU.
- The UK has agreed to pay around £39bn to leave the EU to cover existing commitments. This does not even cover the cost of getting access to the single market. People cannot be expected to have an informed opinion on leaving the EU when much of the information about leaving the EU was false or unknown.
25. The government has no mandate for leaving the single market or customs union.
- The referendum did not specify that the UK would leave either the Single Market or the Customs Union. The ballot paper simply asked if voters wanted to remain or leave the European Union. There was no indication about the nature of any withdrawal from the EU. This was further confirmed when May lost her overall majority after she called a snap election for June, 2017.
- Lord Adonis summed up Theresa May’s lack of a mandate for her form of Brexit in his resignation letter as Chair of UK infrastructure commission. He points out that:
“Brexit is a populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump. After the narrow referendum vote, a form of associate membership of the EU might have been attempted without rupturing Britain’s key trading and political alliances. Instead, by allying with Ukip and the Tory hard right to wrench Britain out of the key economic and political institutions of modern Europe, you are pursuing a course fraught with danger.
Even within Ireland, there are set to be barriers between people and trade. If Brexit happens, taking us back into Europe will become the mission of our children’s generation, who will marvel at your acts of destruction.” Andrew Adonis, 29th December 2017
26. Brexit could result in the break-up of the UK.
- Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and has land border with another EU country. To avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland the UK government has committed to back stop proposal of full alignment with EU rules on cross-border provisions if no trade deal is agreed with the EU. This agreement could make the unification of Ireland more likely as people in Northern Ireland are increasingly in favour of staying in the EU.
- In a recent survey of people in Northern Ireland 69% said they would be in favour of Remain if there was another referendum compared to 56% in the 2016 referendum. Further, Catholics are more likely to support a united Ireland if there is a ‘hard exit’ in which the UK leaves the customs union and single market.
- Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of SNP, has also indicated that the SNP plan to call for a second Scottish independence referendum once we know what the relationship with the EU will look like after Brexit. Scotland voted strongly in favour of remaining in the EU (62% to 38%), and so the Scottish Government want to remain in the single market. Unless we stop Brexit the current structure of the UK is clearly under threat.
27. The UK lacks the capacity of EU ports:
- If the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be able to rely on the capacity and infrastructure of EU ports to handle and process goods destined for the UK from outside the EU. Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest as much as half of the Netherland’s annual €40bn goods exports to the UK originate from third countries. If the UK leaves the EU these goods will need to go directly to the UK, or go through two separate borders, initially the EU and then the UK border.
- The UK lacks a facility similar to Rotterdam because most trade between the UK and Rotterdam is via ferry rather than large cargo ships. This means that ferry ports such as Harwich lack border inspection posts and don’t have physical space for much expansion. They certainly can’t handle large container ships.
28. The Leave campaign was financed by wealthy individuals who wish to benefit from Brexit financially:
- It is no coincidence that many of the financial backers of Brexit appear in the leaked Paradise Papers. Brexit supporters like Arron Banks, Lord Magan and the Barclay brothers have off-shore interests to help them minimise or avoid tax. These same people also support the idea of a hard Brexit which would allow the UK rip up its current economics model and become a tax haven.
- In addition a hard Brexit would also allow the UK to avoid implementing the EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive which is due to come into force from 1st January 2019. This will force EU countries to share details of all cross border off-shore tax schemes every three months as they will be recorded in a central directory of avoidance schemes. This will affect UK based intermediaries that participate in off-shoring and tax avoidance and which the UK is a global leader together with Hong Kong and the US.
- David Cameron personally intervened in 2013 to request that off-shore trusts be excluded from the EU directive. He did not want trusts to be subject to the same transparency rules as companies. In 2016 David Cameron admitted that he had benefited from his father’s off-shore trust.
29. Brexit is damaging the UK’s ability to attract highly skilled workers from abroad:
- In 2012 a survey by accountants BDO showed the UK as the joint second most popular destination for European workers thinking about relocating. In the latest survey published in December 2017 though, the UK doesn’t even feature in the top six countries EU citizens would consider relocating to. The most popular countries being considered by EU citizens are the US, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and Spain.
30. Brexit is such a huge undertaking the Government lacks the bandwidth to anything else.
- When Alan Milburn and the entire team running the Social Mobility Commission quit in December 2017, he accused the Government of lacking the “bandwidth” to make progress on social care. One of the reasons he gave for the mass resignation was the Government’s obsession with Brexit. This is not surprising as Brexit is taking up so much of the Government’s time and energy. Of the 27 bills in the 2017 Queen’s speech, eight related to Brexit and it’s impact on immigration and trade.
- What this means is that there is little time or money left for dealing with other important issues such as the NHS, social care or improving the UK’s poor productivity performance. Further, Brexit is a process, not an event and PWC estimate that it will take between 2 to 10 years to complete. Given the complexity of the process and that trade deals with the EU normally take around seven years to complete it is more likely to be closer to ten years than two years to complete Brexit.
31. Getting a trade deal before we leave the EU is not credible or logistically possible:
- May’s original plan was to leave the single market and the customs union and negotiate a new “frictionless” trade agreement through “associate membership” of the customs union before the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020. This appears increasingly unlikely given that the UK has still not found an alternative solution to the Northern Ireland back stop problem.
- For free trade to happen counties must collaborate to ensure compatibility between national legal systems, standardising their rules and regulations to bring down trade barriers. The UK doesn’t want to abide by the rules of the customs union and so the EU has indicated the UK can’t expect to receive the benefits of EU membership when it leaves.
- It took the EU seven years to agree a trade agreement with Canada. Indeed, Michael Fuchs, a senior adviser to Germany’s Angela Merkel has told reporters that May’s Brexit plan is impossible as she does not appear to want to give up anything to achieve her aims.
- Lord Adonis, the Chair of the UK infrastructure commission also pointed out the lack of a credible plan in his resignation letter on 29th December 2017.
“The government is hurtling towards the EU’s emergency exit with no credible plan for the future of British trade and European cooperation, all the while ignoring – beyond soundbites and inadequate programmes – the crises of housing, education, the NHS and social and regional inequality which are undermining the fabric of our nation and feeding a populist surge.” Andrew Adonis, 17th December 2017
32. Taking the UK out of the single market will seriously damage the economy.
- The UK government’s own Brexit impact assessment shows that every scenario facing the UK for leaving the EU is predicted to have an adverse impact on the economy. The assessment shows the following falls in overall GDP over 15 years:
- UK remains in the single market via the European Economic Area (EEA) GDP fall of 1.5%.
- UK agrees a free trade deal GDP will fall by 5%
- UK leaves EU without a deal and reverts to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms GDP decline of 8%.
- May wants to take the UK out of a market over 500 million people with no guarantee that we can obtain “frictionless” access to the single market after we leave the EU. The EU has already indicated this will mean the City of London lose its European passport allowing free trade in financial services throughout the single market.
- Representatives of top EU companies told Teresa May on 30th May 2018 that they will not invest in the UK while the there is uncertainty over the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU. They indicated that anything less than the frictionless trade the UK currently benefits from being in the customs union will harm investment.
“The uninterrupted flow of goods is essential to both the EU and UK economies,” the lobby group said in a statement after the meeting. “This must be frictionless as with a customs union. We need clarity and certainty, because time is running out. Uncertainty causes less investment.” – Source FT.com
33. It is a myth that ‘No deal is better than a bad deal” with EU.
- The government’s own Brexit assessment estimates that a “hard Brexit” would cost the UK economy around £80 billion over 15 years. The government would also need to borrow an extra £150bn over the next 15 years. The North East (-16%) and West Midlands (-13%) would be most badly effected economically by a hard Brexit. It would also mean an overall 21% rise in retail prices, with food and drink prices increasing by 17%.
- Further, the EU cannot legally be seen to offer the UK more favourable terms than it has given other countries it has signed trade agreements with. Giving the UK more favourable terms would put the EU at risk of legal action from the likes of Canada and Japan.
34. The EU already has many trade agreements with other nations which the UK would exclude itself from if it leaves the EU.
- The EU has recently completed a free trade agreement with Canada and Japan and it has many multilateral and bilateral trade deals that the UK currently benefits from. These normally take many years to complete. As 44% of the UK’s exports go to the EU why would we want to risk jeopardising this trade? Stop Brexit before we have to renegotiate at least 759 treaties with 168 countries.
35. We risk losing sovereignty of Gibraltar and 30,000 loyal subjects.
- As all 27 EU states have to agree to any new trade agreement with the EU it is highly likely that Spain will use this as an opportunity to push for joint sovereignty of Gibraltar. Spain only opened its border with Gibraltar because it wanted to join the EU and the UK government was able to ensure membership of the EU was subject to an open border. We have now put that power in Spain’s hands and Spain has the right to veto any trade agreement that it does not like with regard to Gibraltar. This could make life even more difficult for the people of Gibraltar if the UK leaves the EU.
36. London risks losing its status as Europe’s leading financial hub and a centre of creativity in the arts and sciences.
- Many multinational banks have already announced they are planning on moving thousands of jobs from London to other European financial centres in response to Brexit. Losing the European financial passport will be a major blow to London’s status as a financial hub.
- London has successfully attracted many talented people from the rest of Europe and other countries due to its ethnic and cultural diversity. This has helped establish London as a centre of creative and high-tech science. Given the perception of Brexit from outside the UK and proposed new immigration controls this status is in serious risk of being undermined. Unless we stop Brexit the City of London risks losing its dominance in financial services in Europe.
37. Leaving the EU is likely to undermine the UK’s world-leading position in science and innovation.
- The UK was the largest receiver of funding from the EU Research and Innovation programme.
- The EU as greatly assisted UK science and innovation as freedom of movement of expertise and EU science funding has supported important complex international research and development programmes. This has been beneficial for education, training, innovation and the economy overall. Leaving the EU will prevent collaboration, remove funding opportunities and hinder attracting talent from other EU countries.
38. Many UK industries are reliant on EU regulatory bodies to trade in both the UK and EU.
- The UK does not have the resources or money to create numerous regulators to replace existing EU regulatory bodies within two years. EU pharmaceutical companies for instance have to submit results to the European Medical Agency (EMA), which is currently based in London. Otherwise companies cannot proceed with testing and production. The EMA is now moving to the Netherlands which will result in over 900 job losses and the loss of 30,000 hotel room bookings a year in London. However, the UK is already pushing to remain under EU regulation for medicines after Brexit despite the EU saying that the UK can’t cherry pick which sectors remain in the single market.
- If the EU does not allow this we are left with having to replicate EU regulatory agencies which will add significantly to the cost of Brexit. Unless we stop Brexit we will have to pay more for regulating different sectors of the economy and have no influence over changes to regulations if we still want to trade with the EU.
39. UK citizens will lose the automatic right to work and live in other EU countries.
- 1.2 million British born people currently live in another EU country and an estimated 800,000 are workers and their dependants. Currently people in the UK can work and live in any other EU country without having to apply for approval from the other member state.
- This is likely to end if we leave the single market and customs union as the UK Government wants to prevent EU nationals coming to the UK without first being granted permission. Apart from the loss of a right that many of us have benefited from over the years this will increase red-tape and make it more difficult to recruit skilled staff from other EU countries. Why would such staff come to the UK when they can go to an EU member state without any need to complete paperwork?
40. Article 50 is reversible on a unilateral basis.
- For much of the period since Article 50 was triggered the government insisted that the Brexit process could not be stopped as Article 50 is not reversible. However, on 10th December 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK can cancel Brexit without seeking the permission of other EU member countries.
- The government spent hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to stop the legal process involved because it did not want UK citizens or MPs to know that Parliament could simply instruct the government to stop the Brexit process. This is another example of how the government has tried to mislead people about Brexit.
41. UK citizens may lose the right to free medical care when travelling in the EU.
- Currently UK citizens have access to free or subsidised medical care when travelling in the EU via the EHIC card. However, this will now be part of the Brexit negotiations. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, admitted during evidence to a Commons committee he could give no guarantees that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will survive withdrawal from the EU. Removing access to the EHIC card would have serious financial implications for UK citizens travelling in the EU, especially if they don’t have travel insurance.
42. UK universities may lose tens of millions of pounds in fees from EU students deciding to study elsewhere.
- EU applications for UK universities have declined by 7% according to figures provided to a select committee of MPs. It is the first drop in applications from EU students to study in the UK for almost a decade and is likely to have been influenced by the Brexit decision. EU students have been an important source of growth for UK universities because the number of 18-year-olds in the UK are declining. Applications from EU students rose by 5.9% between 2015 and 2016 and 7.4% the year before.
43. Producing a White Paper after a bill has been passed is contrary to our normal constitutional process.
- A White Paper normally proceeds a bill to allow MPs to properly debate the full details of any proposals to be enshrined in law. Producing a White Paper after the Article 50 Bill was voted through Parliament prevented MPs from shaping the Article 50 legislation and diminishes the power of Parliament. Stop Brexit to protect our democracy.
- As A.C. Grayling points out on Twitter:
“Producing a White Paper AFTER legislation: sheer trickery: MPs should absolutely not stand for it. Redouble MP lobbying efforts accordingly.” – A C Grayling
44. Allowing just 5 days for MPs to debate the Bill for triggering Article 50 shows “contempt” for Parliament.
- The Government’s Bill to trigger Article 50 was only 8 lines long, composed of 137 words and MPs were given just five days to debate it. This angered many Labour MPs in particular as they believe it showed a “contempt” for Parliament. This appears to contradict the leave campaign’s promise to bring back parliamentary sovereignty.
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats called the Bill an “affront to parliamentary sovereignty and democracy”.
“Take back control was a mantra of the leave campaign, but this government’s extreme reluctance to involve parliament in this process has instead been an affront to parliamentary sovereignty and democracy.” Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat leader.
- In the explanatory notes it indicates that the Bill is not expected to have any financial implications. This is completely untrue as the Government themselves have estimated that the cost to the UK once we leave the EU will be around £120bn. Stop Brexit to protect democracy and our right to travel and work in 27 EU countries.
45. The NHS is heavily reliant on staff coming from other EU countries.
Statistics from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show that there has been a 89% fall in the number of nurses and midwives coming to the UK from the EU since the Brexit referendum. There has also been a sharp fall in the number of qualified EU medics leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register. This rose from 2,435 in 2005-16 to 4,067 in 2017 – a rise of 67%.
The data also showed a 11% rise in the number of UK-trained nurses and midwives leaving the register. In 2015-16 the number who left was 26,653 compared to 29,019 last year. Stop Brexit to protect the NHS.
46. Jeremy Corbyn is ignoring what his own party members want:
- A survey of over of 4,000 people by the Mile End Institute published on 4th January 2018 shows that more than three quarters of Labour members want a second referendum. Nine out of ten Labour members also backed continued membership of the single market. Corbyn has repeatedly said that he wants more power for members and supporters so that Labour has policies that have support throughout the whole party. Well, he is not doing this with Brexit as although he has now agreed to put any deal to the people in a referendum, he intends to keep Labour neutral until after he has won a general election.
- Corbyn has repeatedly said the UK cannot remain in the single market after Brexit. This is incorrect as Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein are all in the single market but not in the EU. This demonstrates how Corbyn is not putting jobs first as leaving the single market will badly damage our competitiveness as Ford have warned with regard to their Bridgend factory. Stop Brexit to protect jobs.
- In his 32 year career as an MP Jeremy Corbyn defied the party whip over 500 times. Even David Cameron never managed to vote against the Labour as many times as Corbyn has. Labour MPs should therefore not feel obliged to support their leader and should instead vote for what is best for the country and stop Breixt.
- On the day after the referendum Corbyn demanded that Article 50 be triggered immediately. This demonstrates that Corbyn was not in favour of remaining in the EU even though he claimed to be during the referendum campaign. Stop Brexit as most Labour supporters want a second referendum.
47. As part of Brexit the UK is to leave Euratom which is likely to delay the building of new nuclear power stations and reduce the competitiveness of the UK in this sector.
- The explanatory notes for the Brexit Bill revealed that the UK will also leave Euratom, which promotes research into nuclear power and uniform safety standards.
- Referring to Hinkley and other nuclear projects, Dr Paul Dorfman of the Energy Institute at University College London said:
“The UK nuclear industry is critically dependent on European goods and services in the nuclear supply chain and their specialist nuclear skills. Leaving Euratom will inevitably increase nuclear costs and will mean further delays.
48. Brexit MPs don’t understand how the EU works or the complexity of leaving the EU.
- A former Tory Treasury minister, Lord O’Neill of Gatley, who left the Government in September 2016, has referred to members of Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating team as “ludicrous” and “clueless” about the economy. He said it was “mad” for ministers to put so much effort into talking to New Zealand rather than China about trade deals.
- After the referendum Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, said that the UK would negotiate many new trade deals for when we leave the EU. However, EU regulations prohibit member countries from negotiating trade deals with other countries while the nation is still a member.
- Theresa May also thinks that the UK can negotiate a free trade agreement with the the EU without having to comply with their regulations. Michael Fuchs, an adviser to Angela Merkel has said this is no possible as “you can’t eat a cake without paying for it”.
- On the 27th January 2017, Mr Iain Duncan Smith issued a statement criticising the Supreme Court’s judgement on Brexit. A leading barrister analysed the statement and concluded it was inaccurate and inappropriate given the British constitution. This raises the question of how valid other statements Iain Duncan Smith has made during and since the Brexit campaign. To conduct their jobs competently MPs should have a good working knowledge on such matters. Stop Brexit because MP’s don’t understand the complexity of leaving the EU.
49. “The election of Trump has transformed Brexit from a risky decision into a straightforward disaster.”
- Donald Trump is a destabilising influence on the world economic and political landscape. In an article for the Financial Times Gideon Rachman argues that Trump is a disaster for Brexit because the UK can no longer rely on the US for support because Trump’s vision and policies are at odds with Theresa May’s strategy and values.
- Donald Trump is the most protectionist US president since the 1930s and any trade deal would probably require major concessions on the NHS and agriculture. This is the opposite of May’s vision of . “global Britain” being a champion of free trade. May is also a firm supporter of NATO and the UN whilst Trump as twice referred to NATO as obsolete and wants to drastically cut funding for the UN. Trump would also like to see the break-up of the EU whilst May wants to see the EU prosper as it is our biggest trading partner.
- Given our very different values and outlook on the world this is not the time to break free from the EU. We should be seeking stability within the EU rather than risking an uncertain future with a closer relationship with the US. Stop Brexit so that the UK doesn’t need to rely on the US for a trade deal when Trump has also agreed he wants to negotiate a trade deal with EU.
50. Hate crime has soared since the Brexit vote.
- According to official Home Office figures there was a 41% increase in racially or religiously aggravated crimes recorded in July 2016 compared to the same month the year before. Stop Brexit to help prevent increased hate crime.
51. The UK does not have the expertise or capability to handle WTO trade disputes:
- The trade dispute between the US and Canadian aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Bombardier demonstrates the difficulties the UK will face when it no longer has the EU to handle such disputes to support UK industry.
- To respond to trade disputes relating to WTO guidelines the UK plans to establish an impartial, proportional, efficient and transparent trade remedy regime. To achieve this the UK will need to recruit and train subject matter experts to monitor goods and services for each UK industry it intends to support. They need to anticipate impending cases or changes to the competitive environment that relate to UK industry. In addition we will need economists who are able to calculate and model subsidy and dumping margins that correspond to WTO standards which need to be retained.
- This will also require lawyers who understand how to play offense and defense for an industry in bilateral and multilateral trade remedy negotiations. Civil servants will need to organise these efforts across government departments. Further, we will need to establish a customs administration to police trade remedies at the border and all this will need to be in place on the day we leave the EU. This will cost a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere. We are also unlikely to have such a system and the expertise needed in place on day one of Brexit. Stop Brexit to protect the UK’s trade with countries outside of the EU.
52. The EU is probably more democratic than the UK:
- Many Brexit supporters, including Nigel Farage, refer to the EU as being undemocratic as they claim the EU is full of unelected bureaucrats. This is often a reference to the European commission which is made up of 27 commissioners – one for each country. The commission drafts, enforces and monitors EU laws. However, it cannot pass laws.
- EU laws are set by two institutions, the council of ministers, which comprises ministers from 27 EU governments and the European parliament. One of the complaints of Brexit supporters has been the extension of qualified-majority voting and the UK could be outvoted. However, analysis by the London School of Economics discovered that the UK was on the winning side 87% of the time between 2009 to 2015.
- Further, as the Brexit process itself is demonstrating member states and elected MEPs have the final say on EU policy and laws. Indeed, some would argue that the UK is less democratic than the EU as the UK has an unelected head of state and a second chamber (The House of Lords) which is also unelected.
- UK governments also use the whip system to ensure their own MPs support and push through legislation without amendments. This limits ability of parliament to change legislation. In the EU parliament laws are rarely allowed to proceed without being amended because MEPs are more likely to vote according to national interest than along party lines. Also if one third of national parliaments oppose a draft law, the commission must review it. The EU parliament also has the ability to dismiss the commission and approves the politicians who lead it. Stop Brexit as the EU is probably more democratic than the UK parliament.
53. UK manufactured vehicles won’t qualify for free trade deals after Brexit:
- For UK manufactured vehicles to qualify for a free trade deal the “rules of origin” regulations typically require around 55%-60% to be “local content”. The UK government has claimed this is currently around 45%, but the UK car industry has told the government this is vastly overstated because it includes foreign parts purchased by UK suppliers.
- This means that unless the UK obtains a special content deal, the majority of UK assembled cars would not qualify for tariff-free trade under most free trade deals. This would make the UK a less competitive place to manufacture motor vehicles and could lead to companies like Nissan and Toyota relocating their manufacturing to other EU countries.
54. The EU has banned companies bringing in temporary staff to undercut the wages of UK workers.
During the referendum the Leave campaign argued that temporary EU migrant workers were being used to undercut the wages of UK workers. In May 2018 the EU Parliament passed a new law to prevent this happening. All EU workers posted temporarily to another EU member state will have to get equal pay for the same work in the same place. EU countries have been given two years to implement the new regulations and so the UK is likely to have to legislate for this even if it still leaves the EU in December 2020.
55. UK companies may be excluded from bidding for work for EU flagship projects:
UK companies are to be excluded for bidding for work on the EU’s €10bn Galileo satellite navigation system and the government will also be prevented from accessing secure aspects of the project. In 2011 the UK agreed to rules blocking non-EU countries from accessing secure parts of the project.
UK companies may also be excluded from participating in the new EU €500m defence fund after Brexit according to the Telegraph. UK companies are likely to miss out on participating in EU flagship projects if the UK leaves the EU.
56. EU businesses avoid UK components to prevent falling below local content rules.
European governments are advising businesses to avoid sourcing components from British firms for products they export because they could lose free trade access because of ‘rules of origin’ and ‘local content’ regulations. To qualify for EU free trade deals around 55% of a product’s parts need to be sourced from the EU.
The Dutch government says UK parts “no longer count towards EU origin” in its official “Brexit impact scan” advice to Dutch businesses. This advice could be a “catastrophe” for the British car parts industry.
57. Potential brain drain among young people due to Brexit.
Brexit risks causing a brain drain among young people in the UK. A survey conducted by Opinium of more than 2,000 people found that 25 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds are considering moving abroad because they believe there are more career opportunities abroad.
58. The EU is not a protectionist racket:
Leave supporters regularly claim that the EU is highly protectionist and especially relating to African countries. A comparison of EU tariffs by the BBC suggests that “EU tariffs are relatively low“.
In respect to Africa, most African countries benefit from an EU arrangement known as Everything but Arms. This provides for almost completely tariff and quota free access for their goods to the EU single market. This applies to all nations that are classified as least developed. The EU has been unable to progress with a free trade deal with India mainly because of the UK’s unwillingness to agree to a more liberal visa policy sought by the Indian government.
59. Brexit could put the public at risk if security cooperation with the EU is weakened.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has warned about the potential security risks of Brexit. The UK would need to replace instruments we currently have and in the case of a no-deal Brexit that would be very difficult to do in the short-term and it would be more costly and slower than what we have at present.
The current plan to leave the EU would weaken UK participation in the European Arrest Warrant, making it more difficult to deal with cross-border crime and offers no long-term guarantees for continued access to important security databases.
60. Brexit will add an extra £113.50 to the cost of winter holidays.
New research indicates that the cost of winter holidays after Brexit will rise by an average of £113.50. Brexit will make going on holiday to the EU more expensive and more bureaucratic. The increase in the cost of holidays is due to the loss of single market membership, a decline in the value of the pound, loss of free health cover across the EU and the cost of roaming charges for mobile phone use in the EU as these will be reimposed as the UK leaves the EU.
61. The EU is not the cause of inequality in the UK.
Research shows that six of out of the world’s ten most equal societies are in the EU and two of the remaining four are in the Single Market (EFTA). The EU is not creating inequality but rather it is the policies of the UK government that have failed to address wealth inequality in the UK.
62. EU citizens have to register to live in their homes.
The Home Office has confirmed that EU citizens must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020. This contradicts what was promised during the referendum when Vote Leave promised “no change in EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK”.
Why should EU citizens who came to the UK legally under freedom of movement and have made their home here, often married UK citizens and brought children up in the UK, now be expected to apply to live in their own homes?
As one partner of a EU citizen pointed out in the Independent:
“It’s an insult to her and the millions of other EU nationals who have contributed to the UK economy.” – Johnny Taylor
63. Fake footage of migrants crossing channel to stoke up anti-migrant feelings.
During the 2016 referendum campaign Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU paid for fake footage of migrants entering the UK by crossing the Channel. The video went viral, helping to raise concerns about immigration during the referendum campaign. Channel 4 only uncovered this deception in 2019.
64. Suspending parliament dragged the Queen into politics.
During the referendum campaign much was made by Brexiteers of ‘taking back control’ and returning sovereignty to Parliament. However, during the Tory Party leadership campaign of June 2019 at least three contenders (Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom) suggested they would consider proroguing Parliament to allow a no-deal Brexit to prevent the UK not leaving the EU on 31st October 2019.
Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, suggested that suspending Parliament to allow a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would not be illegal. When Johnson did try to suspend parliament he had to ask the Queen to approve the decision and then had to apologise to the Queen when it was deemed to be illegal by the Supreme Court.
65. Thousands of voters were disenfranchised in the 2019 EU elections.
The 2019 EU elections were an important test for the popularity of Brexit. However, during the run up to the election thousands of EU and UK nationals claimed they were unable to vote due to administrative problems. Indeed, an investigation by the Guardian newspaper discovered three local councils admitted they ran out of time to print and send postal ballots to some overseas voters.
Local councils complained that voting arrangements were adversely affected by an extremely compressed schedule. In addition, many EU nationals were unable to vote on 23rd May because their names were crossed off the register due to clerical errors by local councils. Voters felt they were “silenced” because it was the only national election they had a right to take part in since the referendum. Anneli Howard, a specialist EU lawyer, said the government was at risk of being sued.
“If EU citizens are being asked to fill out additional forms that UK nationals are not, that’s discrimination,” Anneli Howard, Barrister on EU law.
Brexit is making the UK poorer, smaller, more inward looking, is reducing diversity, less tolerant and will create unnecessary barriers to both trade and travel. It is also making our Government more selfish, our opposition irrelevant and lowering our status in the world.
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- About the author: Neal Cole is a digital marketer who has worked in a number of European cities including Paris and London, and also in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. He is the founder of Conversion Uplift Ltd which provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for brands such as Deezer.com, Foxybingo.com, Very.co.uk, partypoker.com and Bgo.com. Since the referendum Neal has been unable to get any work in other European countries and has had to limit himself to working in the UK.
- Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on CXL and Usabilla.com. As an ex-market research and insight manager he also had posts published on the GreenBook Blog research website. If you wish to contact us please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow his Twitter @northresearch, see Neal’s LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.