If we don’t radically change course on Brexit, the party I love will not survive
Byline By: Priti Patel
Date: May 17, 2019 Friday 11:29 AM GMT
You don’t have to be a political insider to know that Parliament, along with parts of the Government, has colluded in sabotaging Brexit. Voters are witnessing the disintegration of their democratic institutions, business is collectively throwing its hands in the air at the sheer incompetence of the handling of Brexit and instead of the Government articulating long-term vision for our country’s future, important issues are being neglected. Public trust has been lost as the paralysis infecting Government and Parliament has put on hold key decisions on housing, public services and the economy, decisions that matter to people’s everyday lives.
The future of our country is on the line and if we don’t radically change course, the party I love and have worked for all my life will not survive, let alone deliver Brexit. Worse still, we may not be able to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister and his dangerous brand of socialism destroying our country.
This is why it is so important to remember why the British people voted to leave the EU. They wanted to take back control of our laws, money and trade so Britain could be an outward-looking country with global reach. They also wanted to take back control of our borders as they were no longer prepared to live with the consequences of free movement and the extra pressures placed on our public services. They wanted to replace control by an unelected elite in Brussels with a confident, free and self-governing democracy rooted in British values.
But most of all, the people of our country voted to leave because they believe in Britain. They believe in better. A nation that is a land of opportunity, is independent and stands tall in the world.
The European Union is becoming more economically feeble every year. Thirty years ago the EU accounted for close to 30 per cent of the global share of the world economy. It has now dwindled to almost half that and is set to plummet to less than 10 per cent by the middle of this century. With other parts of the world growing at a faster pace and accounting for 90 per cent of global growth, our nation needs to look to her future beyond the shores of Europe. Our destiny is as a global beacon of free trade and we cannot deliver that while bound to the declining EU and its protectionist Customs Union.
The Withdrawal Agreement – Theresa May’s flagship policy, devised and drafted by Brussels, endorsed and supported by the entire Government machine – marks the surrender and capitulation of our country. If it were to become UK law, it would represent a national humiliation. Far from taking back control, it would literally imprison us, prevent us making our own trade deals and allow the EU to continue to impose rules on our country.
Britain cannot be out of Europe in name only but still run by Europe. We should be free to engage with the rest of the world. Yet this message of freedom, hope, optimism and ambition for the future is completely absent from this Government. Instead, all we get is doom mongering, endless project fear and threats from the same people who have never believed in a future outside the EU.
The British people know better. They know that with our country’s spirit of enterprise and political leaders that believe in our country we can thrive and enter a new era of prosperity. They know that instead of being bound to a discredited and undemocratic Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by those who lack belief in Britain we should establish a new relationship with the EU based on the benefits of free trade and mutual cooperation.
Free trade benefits both sides. Despite the constant negative rhetoric, we are in a strong position to negotiate a positive free trade agreement as the EU sells us £95 billion more in goods than we sell to them. Our political leaders just need to show the conviction and confidence to follow this through.
Instead, the current set of political leaders have been left exposed and have not leveraged our negotiating advantages for the future of our country. They have been shown up to be mere holders of office; without the vision, vigour or passion to take our country forward to the free, prosperous and democratic future the people want and the Britain that the people believe is possible.
We now need radical and urgent change led by a new generation of political leaders. These leaders must trust and believe in the people and the enterprises of this great nation and champion our democratic values, alongside the economic and political freedoms the British people wanted to regain in the vote to leave. Above all they must take back control, stand on the side of freedom and reject the failed politics and political approach that has limited the ability of our nation to succeed and restricted our liberty.
With a post-Brexit economic policy that sets our economy and country on the right track, the UK could exercise greater fiscal flexibility and regulatory reform, transforming our country into a dynamic engine of prosperity, job creation and growth while generating the wealth to provide high quality public services. Free to set our own laws, Brexit could act as a catalyst for a new era of prosperity for an outward-looking UK, ambitious in removing barriers to trade, enterprise and economic growth.
We are a global trading power and the fifth largest economy in the world. For centuries our wealth has come from our ambition, entrepreneurial skills and global reach. We can be a free and independent country and will prosper if given a proper chance.
It’s time to reignite the flame of national self-confidence and lift Britain’s standing in the world. This requires fresh leadership, with conviction and a belief in Britain and the many great opportunities that lie ahead of us.
Priti Patel is Conservative MP for Witham