Letters: Michael de Whalley, July 8, 2016

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Brexit is the UK’s biggest mistake. Ever.

We have alienated a market with which we do half our trade. The incumbent administration has been thoroughly irresponsible for not planning credible exit strategies in advance of the referendum. A Brexit unit, headed by Oliver Letwin, has been formed, only after the Leave vote. Matters would be further compounded by allowing the lead Brexiteers to head the negotiations. The mood of the lead nations in Europe is to make an example of the UK to dissuade other nations from leaving. Mr Farage’s gloating in the EU Parliament is not an auspicious start by any stretch of the imagination. Nor can we have our cake and eat it. The EU will not let Britain enjoy the free movement of goods, services and capital without accepting the free movement of people. Furthermore, the UK must not be tempted to begin the leaving process (invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty) until we are thoroughly ready, otherwise the EU will have the advantage. I urge that we start examining the potential for trade agreements outside the EU and especially with English-speaking countries. A final sobering thought. According to the Confederation of British Industry (2013) the UK economy benefited from EU membership by £62 to £78 billion every year whilst Treasury figures (2013) reported a net contribution of £8.47 billion.

Michael de Whalley, Grimston