PRESS-RELEASE

Statement on tonight’s House of Commons vote

My statement on tonight’s House of Commons vote: MPs should consider the consequences of their actions.

Tonight the House of Commons has spoken, on a vote of 309 to 305, to require the future UK-EU deal to be approved by a statute passed by Parliament. Those who supported this motion are seeking to undermine Brexit whilst simultaneously trying to appropriate the language of Brexiteers.

In his famous dictionary, Dr. Johnson wrote that patriotism is ‘the last refuge of a scoundrel’. Ambrose Bierce disagreed, saying ‘I beg to submit that it is the first’. They refer to those who, whilst holding blatant disregard for their nation, falsely drape themselves in the flag to avoid scrutiny.

This evening, MPs have draped themselves in the language of Parliamentary sovereignty and democracy. They will achieve precisely the opposite. It appears that they have short memories. On June 23rd 2016, the British people voted for Brexit. More people did so than have voted for anything else in the entire history of our nation. On June 8 2017, both Conservative and Labour MPs were elected on Manifesto commitments to ensure Brexit and to leave the Single Market and Customs Union. Over 80% of people voted for them; UKIP suffered at that election precisely because both Conservatives and Labour went to the polls pledging to honour the referendum commitment.

There can be no shred of doubt that there is a democratic mandate in place for Britain to leave the European Union. To put it another way, I can think of no stronger mandate for anything in history: there can be nothing stronger than the unique combination of 17.4 million people voting for Brexit in a referendum, a General Election result where over 84% of voters backed parties pledging Brexit, and an Act of Parliament passed following a Supreme Court case. Legally, morally, democratically, and democratically again, Brexit must happen.

Those who drape themselves in the notion of Parliamentary sovereignty in a bid to overturn a referendum, a General Election, and an Act of Parliament, are utterly disingenuous. Whether it is the last refuge of a scoundrel or the first, they are betraying their voters.

To Labour and Conservative MPs whose constituencies voted Remain in the referendum, I ask this: When you stood at the General Election in 2017, did you support your Party’s Manifesto commitment to leave the European Union? Your constituents may, unlike many of you, actually respect democracy.

The mandate for leaving the European Union is unarguable. The mandate for leaving the Single Market and Customs Union is unarguable. And it is pure sophistry to argue against the existence a mandate for regaining control over our immigration system, or for British courts to once again become supreme.

When voting on Amendment 7, MPs should have been asking themselves the Golden Question and considering the consequences of their actions: has their decision made it easier or harder for the UK to negotiate a good deal with the European Union?

They have unquestionably made it harder. Stealing the language of Parliamentary sovereignty, they imperil the possibility of Parliament actually regaining genuine sovereignty over the country. Their vote has been welcomed by the European Union’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt. The European Union will see this vote as a green light to concede even less to the British side during negotiations.

We can now say, without a single shred of doubt, that any ‘deal’ agreed between the UK and the European Union for Brexit will be heavily skewed in favour of the European Union side. I have seen the workings of Mr. Verhofstadt, Mr. Weber, and others, at first hand over a number of years. I’ve sat in the European Parliament chamber and listened to Mr. Juncker speak. Their utter delight at this Parliamentary vote does not come from vague notions of sovereignty, but from a belief that it will allow the European Union the upper hand in negotiations.

Those MPs who voted for Amendment 7 should remember this day, because it is the day that the last remaining vestige of a chance of reaching an amicable and mutually beneficial trade deal between the UK and the European Union disappeared. If you voted for Amendment 7, you have removed all chance of obtaining a good deal. If the United Kingdom now ends up in a no-deal scenario with the European Union, you will have been the proximate cause. You now forfeit any moral right to criticise others for any fault with the final outcome.

The United Kingdom must leave the European Union. There exists no legal mechanism to overturn the triggering of Article 50; that was, after all, the whole basis for the Supreme Court case. The government must urgently prepare for the possibility of a no-deal exit from the European Union, which would also entail paying precisely nothing to the European Union in any ‘divorce bill’. Our Westminster politicians have mismanaged this entire process spectacularly badly. They must be called to account for their actions at the next General Election.

PRESS-RELEASEV2

Statement on the UK-EU Brexit agreement

“Senior EU figures are now openly calling for a United States of Europe by 2025; the good news is that we’re getting off the train before it reaches a destination where almost nobody in the UK wants to go.

When the former President of the European Parliament, now the second-most powerful politician in Germany, joins forces with the European Parliament’s chief negotiator, it’s clear they mean business.

Now, more than ever, it’s vital to our nation’s future that we leave the European Union. Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations are indeed a betrayal of what we voted for, but these plans will eventually result in leaving the European Union.

This is not a hard Brexit, nor is it a soft Brexit. It is a slow Brexit.

EU courts will continue to overrule our own for up to 8 years on certain issues. We’ll still be paying to EU projects well beyond the end of 2020. Our fishing waters will not be regained immediately on Brexit Day, but at some indeterminate point beyond it. The question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic has been kicked into the long grass.

However big a betrayal this is of our nation, the one silver lining to this cloud is that we will eventually regain our freedom. We will eventually stop paying money to the European Union, and it will eventually leave us regaining our democracy and saving vast sums on EU membership.

The EU ‘divorce bill’ is vast, but watching Remainer faux outrage shows their utter hypocrisy: they have no complaints over the vast sums we pay to the EU every year; this unacceptable amount equates to only two years of gross contributions – an issue on which they remain pathetically silent, being prepared to pay ever-increasing sums in perpetuity.

Having mismanaged negotiations to the point of national embarrassment, Theresa May – or her replacement if her leadership does not survive the coming months – must answer one huge question in the next phase of negotiations. What is the European Union going to give the UK in the next phase in return for acceding to their bloated demands? If their answer is insufficient to justify this King’s Ransom, we must walk away without paying them a penny piece.

Pressure from the DUP forced Theresa May not to concede even more than she did over Northern Ireland. Now pressure from UKIP must keep her from further betrayal as talks progress.”

LETTERS

UK train fares are among the highest in Europe but that is not matched by the services provided on many lines

Dear Editor,

The depressing hike in rail fares from next month will hit travellers all over the country, but it is those in the poorer areas, like the North East, who will feel it most.

Trains provide a vital link for commuters so they can earn a living and keep a roof over their family’s heads. Every penny counts and many people are already feeling the pinch in funding their transport costs without a rise in costs.

The RMT Union has rightly described it as “another kick in the teeth” for passengers who are already unimpressed by the fact that 12% of trains failed to meet the rail industry’s punctuality target in the past 12 months.

According to Transport Focus, fewer than half (47%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets and that figure is now bound to rise.

The hard pressed train users are entitled to an efficient and affordable service on good quality rolling stock. Investments have been made in new trains, track and signals but this should not be coming out of commuters’ pockets.

UK train fares are among the highest in Europe but that is not matched by the services provided on many lines.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

Fishing for Amendments

Seeing the slow but inexorable decline in our fishing industry has been frankly heartbreaking.
Our once proud fishing fleets have been decimated by EU legislation and during the referendum campaign fishing communities were amongst the loudest voices in the Leave camp having experienced how disastrous EU policy has been to our country.

It was hoped that with the Brexit vote, we could reclaim the 200 – mile exclusive economic zone to which we are entitled under international law and repatriate the 70% of the total allowable catch in British waters that are currently taken by EU vessels.

However, government ministers have confirmed that the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be included in the Great Repeal Bill, which will transpose all EU law on to the British statue books for a transitional period.
Frankly this is abject betrayal of Brexit and my colleague, Mike Hookem, UKIP’s Fisheries Spokesperson, has launched a petition to force the Government to remove it from the Repeal Bill.

I have long been dismayed as the fishing fleets in the North East have decreased thanks to the EU and I would urge everyone to get behind this petition, which can be found at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/204098

Regards,

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP