Our Reply – 20.12.17

Open Letter to Mrs. May 20TH December, 2017

 

Rt Hon Mrs. T. May,
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA.
20th December, 2017.

Dear Mrs. May,

I would refer to our letter to you dated 11th December, 2017 and your office email reply of 18th December, 2017. May I say, I am disappointed that you have not answered, with any clarity, any of our concerns or questions and have instead sent us a reply full of the usual sound bites reserved for media publication.

There is a strong feeling developing within my membership and the country at large, that the Conservative Party no longer stands for the values it did, because of its lack of clear direction. Therefore, so that I can reassure my members and others, I would be grateful for a clear and transparent letter which I did not receive in your last reply.

I attach again, a copy of our letter dated 11th December, and set out below the points that we would like answered with clarity and transparency.

  1. In reply to your email dated 9th December:

    a.   The UK is to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union and membership
    of the European Union on 29th March, 2019.

    b.  As from 29th March, 2019, we will no longer be subject to the European Court of
    Justice and that it will have no jurisdiction over the U.K.

    c.  All payments to the EU will cease on 29th March, 2019 subject to an
    implementation period for a fixed period of 2 years.

We agree and support the three statements of intent above, apart from the implementation period.

  1. Is Northern Ireland to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union? How or will this apply to the rest of the U.K? What is meant by ‘full alignment?’

(The first report refers “the report states that “in the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.) (The Second Report states “The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to preserving the integrity of its internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it, as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union’s Internal Market and Customs Union.”)

  1. Are we to remain under the jurisdiction of the ECJ? (our letter dated 11th December refers in more details).
  2. Do British Citizens in the EU have the same rights as EU citizens, over the 8 year period proposed? Will this not conflict with British Law? What is meant by “equal treatment of …..economically inactive citizens with respect to social security, social assistance, health care, employment, self-employment and setting up and managing an undertaking, education (including higher education) and training, social and tax advantages?”(second report refers).
  3. In your email you state “By leaving the Customs Union and establishing a new and ambitious customs arrangement with the EU” – what exactly do you mean? What new and ambitious ‘customs arrangement’?

In point 51 of the second report, of the same date, it states “Both Parties will establish mechanisms to ensure the implementation and oversight of any specific arrangement to safeguard the integrity of the EU Internal Market and the Customs Union.” What does this mean? What does this entail?

  1. Focus again, seems to be on EU costs and liabilities, and fines that the UK will have to pay, but there is no mention of the UK’s share of EU assets. In the second report, it is mentioned not only U.K.’s liabilities and payments to the EU budgets, but payments towards certain EU budgets after the official leave date of 29th March, 2019 – why? For whose benefit? There is no mention, whatsoever, of the EU’s liabilities and repayments to the U.K., in regards to the U.K.’s payments towards EU assets during its membership. It was reported that the EU “had advised that the EU’s gargantuan assets sheet, which includes buildings, loans, wine and fine art, is owned exclusively by Brussels and not the member states.” Can you please confirm who are Brussels? Is this some separate entity?
  2. You did not answer our question on the EU Army (PESCO) and our involvement?
  3. You did not answer our question – will the U.K. regain its fishing waters?
  4. We also asked whether the EU would reimburse the U.K., half the rebate that was agreed to be released by the Blair Government in consideration of amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy that were never carried out by the EU!

Your second report now states that” the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the MFF 2014-2020 until their closure” but this does not include the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The EAGF finances direct payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, the MFF states “Sustainable Growth: Natural Resources: includes the common agricultural policy, common fisheries policy, rural development and environmental measures.” Perhaps could you clarify?

  1. Your statement that ‘the U.K. should honour it’s obligations’ with regards to the MFF 2014-2020 and the report adds “we may wish to participate in some Union budgetary programmes of the new MFF post-2020” – why? Could the EU not honour its obligations to assets due to the U.K?

We could accept that payments may have to be made up until the official leaving date of 29th March, 2019, but can you explain why the British taxpayer should be asked to continue to finance such things as EU education, training, research, telecommunications, helping developed EU countries catch up with the rest, fisheries policy, common agricultural policy, rural development, home affairs, justice, border protection, immigration etc., foreign policy, administration expenditure of all European institutions, pensions and schools, temporary payments to Croatia in order that they need not contribute more to the EU budget – if the U.K. is not to benefit post 2019?

If we are to regain our Sovereignty, our independence, and the U.K.’s best interests are at the forefront of your mind, would that money not be better spent on the U.K., in light of austerity cuts, food banks, etc,? It is understood that the Government, in the past, as a member of the EU was due EU aid fund, a fund the UK had helped finance, with regards to floods and food banks, yet it was refused? But yet, this Government is prepared to give away British Taxpayers money to the EU budget post 2019?

Reading both reports, it is clear that the EU wishes, integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union and payments to the EU are at the forefront of the negotiations. As stated in our first letter to you, a good negotiator would not offer money, but merely start by telling them we are leaving and let them come to us with a proposal. DO NOT offer them anything until their first move.

It would appear that we are still allowing the EU to cherry pick on any proposal and to their benefit only. Both reports contain all EU proposals and wishes and now we are led to believe that the EU has demanded that these ‘agreements in the reports’ be put into law before any further talks!

We are only obliged to pay until the end of our membership in March, 2019. We have strong legal ground to stop contributing to the EU budget after March 2019, as article 50 ends all Treaty obligations at this point, including financial obligations. By placing any current proposals or reports into law, you legally binding us to pay millions of pounds that we do not owe nor have any benefits, so far, been offered for such a sum.

If you agree to place any of the contents in those reports into law before further talks, then this would to show weakness in negotiation. We feel you must adhere to your statement that ‘nothing is agreed until all is agreed’. If the EU cannot offer a free trade deal – WE WALK AWAY!

 

So we ask that you, AGAIN, consider not only what we have said but answer our concerns clearly and with transparency. You state in your last email that you, as a responsible Government should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. We take that to mean that you are prepared to walk away with no deal.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Davies and cosignatories The Silent Majority