“North East MEP Paul Brannen reacted today to the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. Teresa May gave the most important speech of her premiership so far on the subject and set out the UK Government’s objectives for negotiations with the EU once Article 50 is triggered in March this year.
The key policy will mean leaving the Single Market and the EU Customs Union too.
Paul Brannen MEP said:
“Given that the Leave campaign won by a margin of less than 2% in last year’s EU referendum the UK government does not in fact have a clear mandate to leave the Single Market. There were many supporters of Leave who argued for staying in the Single Market so the Prime Minister’s assertion that “voting to leave the EU meant voting to leave the Single Market” is disingenuous, to say the least.
Even in the North East where the Leave vote was 60% this does not translate de facto into a majority vote in favour of leaving the Single Market.
Has Teresa May made a strategic error? By placing her Tory government in favour of leaving Single Market it opens up a clear dividing line with Labour and, more importantly, with more than 50% of UK voters.”
Many North East businesses have expressed great concern about trade tariffs being introduced, and the increased bureaucracy that will come about from exiting the EU trading bloc. As the only UK region with a trade surplus, the North East cannot afford to become less competitive and lose jobs.
“Preserving our status as a strong trading region has to be a priority for the North East if we are to protect jobs and support growth in the future. My worry is this is now at risk so I would call on the Prime Minister to think carefully about throwing the baby out with the bathwater”