Statement: Stephen Metcalfe Backs Boris to Deliver Brexit by October 31st (10.07.2019)
I continue to be grateful to all those who have shared their constructive views with me on Brexit, the Conservative Party leadership and the case for a Second Referendum.
The ongoing Conservative Party Leadership Election will determine not just the next Conservative Party Leader, but our next Prime Minister. This is an enormous responsibility for Conservative Party Members and one that should be discharged with the utmost regard.
I have always believed in the benefits that Brexit can bring and feel that the next Prime Minister must be prepared to deliver on Brexit, Deal or No Deal, by October 31st for MPs on all sides to stand any chance of regaining the trust of the British public. After 3 years of dithering on implementing the largest single democratically expressed mandate in history, it is now time for colleagues across the House of Commons to unite behind the common purpose of leaving the European Union.
Of the two contenders, one man already has the support of the majority of MPs, both leavers and remainders, and is unambiguously committed to leaving the EU under any circumstances by the end of October - Boris Johnson.
The next Prime Minister must embrace Brexit as an opportunity to be grasped, not a risk to be managed. They should: promote our strengths as a dynamic entrepreneurial economy; boast the unique position of the City of London as the global hub for banking, investment and legal services; highlight the £67 billion trade deficit firmly in our favour; and make the case for the UKs specific importance to key individual countries like France and Germany. We imported £78 billion worth of goods and services from Germany in 2017, a trade deficit of £21 billion alone.
Moreover, the new Prime Minister must enthuse our national spirit, demonstrate our resolve to respect democracy and reassure businesses by communicating our extensive No Deal preparations with a positive, optimistic, can-do attitude.
A New Brexit Deal
A principle objection to Theresa May’s Deal which I shared with many colleagues was to do with the so-called Backstop. The Backstop, should our future arrangements with the EU not be concluded by the end of the initial transition period or after a fixed extension to the transition period, was not time limited and did not give us the right to leave it without EU consent. Too much of the defeated deal was predicated on trust with the EU and would have effectively given the EU indefinite sovereignty over parts of the UK with no unilateral mechanism to terminate. For a chance of any new deal receiving parliamentary approval, this must be renegotiated or removed as part of fresh talks.
I believe the best way for the UK to leave the EU is with a deal that preserves zero or low-tariff trade in goods as I know mutual fair competition best stimulates economic growth to generate prosperity. That said, leaving under so-called ‘No-Deal’ terms is not a route I fear should the EU refuse to renegotiate our departure terms. No Deal remains better than a bad deal and No Deal must remain on the table.
With cool heads and preparation, we can manage the challenges a No Deal Brexit may present us with. We already have agreed arrangements in place with the EU on aviation, energy, transport, medicines, VISAs and more for a No Deal departure by October 31st. The parts of our economy most exposed to EU trade friction, such as agribusiness, can be adequality supported by the fiscal headroom in our budgetary surplus, not to mention the repatriated millions we would no longer be sending to Brussels or the tariffs collected should the EU choose to implement trade taxes on us.
No Second Referendum
With regard to a Second Referendum, I feel the British people have already had the final say on the UK's EU membership. For too long, millions of people across the country have struggled to make their voice heard. Many of them chose to leave the EU and I believe that another vote would be divisive for British society. Staying in the bloc would also betray the trust of voters in politicians. I believe that the value of democracy lies not just in the number of times citizens vote but also in the effect of that vote.
Once we have left the EU, we will strike new trade deals around the world. This represents a golden opportunity to take strategic advantage of our unique trading strengths as a nation, as well as furthering our trade and security cooperation with some of the fastest growing economies. As we do so, we can advocate for improvements in global environmental standards and exert trade leverage over nations abusing global peace and order. Please be assured that the NHS will categorically never be on the table as we strike these new deals.
I believe that pessimistic predictions over No Deal are overstated, that the British people are much stronger than some think and that respecting democracy and reinstalling trust in politics is paramount. I campaigned for Brexit, I voted for Brexit and I will continue to be consistent in my pursuit to deliver Brexit as voted for by 73% of my constituents & 17.4 million people. I therefore back Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit by Oct 31st.