Letter: Matthew Hannay, December 5, 2017

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It is being reported that Theresa May and her team are offering a generous sum of £50 billion to the EU as our ‘divorce bill’, which has no legal basis in any of the EU’s core treaties.

This highlights how weak both Theresa May and her negotiating team are and merely confirms to myself that we will leave the EU in name only. The reason for such a large sum completely baffles me. Quoting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph, he said that the £50 billion divorce bill would “get the ship off the rocks” to start negotiating trade terms. It’s almost as if we’re heavily reliant on the EU for trade, when in reality, as we have a trade deficit with the EU to the tune of around £60 billion and being their biggest export market, it should be the EU that should be eager to get the negotiations on trade underway and not the other way round. Now it is reasonable to argue that we should pay our fair share to EU programmes and institutions which other non-EU countries are a part of and which have mutually benefitted both the EU and ourselves. However, £50 billion simply isn’t worth any kind of trade deal, and I believe that we’re in for more backsliding by this government. There is only one party that believes the UK can prosper outside the EU as a global trading nation, and we, in the local branch of UKIP will be active on the streets in the near future.