What should Britain aim for in its Brexit talks?

When Theresa May first used the expression “Brexit Means Brexit” it meant “Britain voted to leave the EU, therefore Britain will leave the EU under my leadership”. Today we consider what Britain should aim to achieve as it leaves the EU.

It matters that Leave won

The 17.4 million who voted for Brexit did so in order to achieve particular aims. To honour the referendum result, the government must work to achieve those aims as it sets about negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU.

The most important themes of the Leave campaign were sovereignty, independence, immigration control, and trade and cooperation between democratic nation states (as apposed to through giant blocs). Therefore, Britain should have the following aims:

1) Britain is leaving the EU, but remains part of Europe. It should continue to trade and cooperate with its European allies

2) Britain must regain its sovereignty, with the government regaining control over areas of UK law which had been given up to Brussels

3) British withdrawal from the ECHR and the ECJ, with parliament establishing a British Bill of Rights. The law of the land is to be decided by judges in the UK

4) Britain must regain control over its borders to the EU 27. Net immigration is to be brought back down to reasonable levels – from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands (in accordance with repeated Conservative manifesto promises)

5) Britain should sign trade deals with countries across the world as an independent country

Further Considerations

In addition, the government must respond to a number of problems which the EU referendum has either 1) brought to light, 2) exacerbated, or 3) created. It must:

1) Improve the employment opportunities of “left behind” working class voters in deprived areas such as in the North of England

2) Work to ease fears following months of Project Fear (see ‘Project Fear‘ and ‘Project Fear U-Turns‘)

3) Preserve the Union against attacks from Nicola Sturgeon, a politician for whom Brexit is a tool to ratchet up resentment of and antagonism towards England with the aim of breaking up the Union

4) If there is to be another “once in a generation” independence referendum, run a positive campaign for the union. Voters may respond defiantly to attempts to intimidate them into voting in a desired manner

5) Invest more in those areas which had been important recipients of EU funding (science, farming, deprived areas in Wales…)