We had a referendum in June in which a majority of the public voted to leave the EU and therefore to leave the single market. The leaders of the leave and remain campaign were explicit: leaving the EU meant leaving the single market.
Some remainers don’t want to accept this fact. They argue that we voted for Brexit, not the terms of Brexit. They favour a “soft Brexit”, with Britain remaining in the single market. In fact, it would be more straightforward to call this a “half Brexit” because that is essentially the idea.
A half Brexit means that Britain leaves the ‘top table’ where the decisions are made, but still has to abide by EU laws. Britain would be moving to a position of vulnerability. “Take back control” was the famous slogan of the Leave campaign. A half Brexit would be to renounce even more control to the EU. It would be contrary, therefore, to the spirit and instructions of the Leave vote.
The intellectually coherent approach
This is what the remain campaign said before June 23: if we left, it had to be a clean exit.
As an article in the (staunchly pro-EU) Financial Times conceded during the referendum campaign:
“The intellectually coherent alternative to staying inside the EU is full exit, that is, a move to relations governed by the rules of the World Trade Organisation. All other alternatives would force the UK to accept many of the most onerous rules of the EU, while giving it a far smaller voice in reaching them”.
Leaving the Single Market is the only way for Britain to regain control of its borders to the EU 27 with a view to reducing the scale of immigration into Britain. It’s also the only way for Britain to sign global trade agreements with countries across the world, from the Old Commonwealth countries of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to growing economies like India, China and Brazil.
The only way to respect the vote
In short, leaving the Single Market is the only way to respect Britain’s vote to leave and achieve the aims of the Brexit campaign.