BORIS JOHNSON’S LETTER OF RESIGNATION – KEY PASSAGES
It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.
They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.
Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.
That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.
We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.
It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws.
…the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing it an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have the ability to influence these laws as they are made.
In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.
It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.
What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.