Big business interest groups like the CBI were fervent advocates of the UK’s membership of the Euro. They were wrong on that and they’re wrong on Brexit, says Joshua Mackenzie–Lawrie from Get Britain Out.

In the last few months of the Brexit negotiations it would seem we have repeatedly heard all the scare stories surrounding ‘just-in-time’ supply chains, and the scourge which Brexit will bring to big business. Everyday there seems to be a new story suggesting the UK would descend into misery and starvation should the current order be disrupted in any way. Somehow leaving the economic institution of the EU will leave our business completely crippled. This is what the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and other self-interested big business groups are peddling to us. Just like they told us the UK would fall into the economic abyss if we did not join the Euro back in 1992 – they were wrong then and they are wrong now.

In reality only five per cent of UK businesses trade with the EU. It also true that many of these are large multinational companies which dominate bodies such as the CBI, have huge war chests which allow them to hire PR and lobbying firms to get their stories and agendas across to Government departments. As a result, a World Trade Organisation ‘No Deal’ Brexit would in fact leave the majority of British businesses unaffected. However, what we are seeing portrayed at the moment is, in fact, the lobbying of a few large and established businesses who don’t want to go through the process of changing how they trade with EU Member States. In their minds this is more important than the basic principles of what is best for Brexit Britain, such as taking back control of our sovereignty and protecting British workers.

What seems to have been forgotten or is ignored by much of the broadcast and some of the print media, is the existence of ‘just-in-time’ supply chains outside the EU. This is not a new phenomenon, they already exist across the world where there is not a supranational federalist body. In order to supply the UK with all it needs, and trade with the rest of the world, we do not need to be inside this political EU ‘federalist’ project.

While there could be concerns if all supply lines to the UK were cut, and goods took days to cross borders, no one is suggesting this is what will actually happen after Brexit. Even the Mayor of Calais the man responsible for the running of the port, has said that even in the situation of ‘No Deal’ lorries and cars will continue across the border as they do now.

In the event of a WTO ‘No Deal’ Brexit, the UK would be able to enter into Article 24 protocol of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. This state’s two countries – or members – can enter a special status, meaning current trade laws and tariffs would be applied for a reasonable amount of time, while new trade agreements are negotiated.  The WTO have already indicated they would be receptive to such an arrangement. This is, of course, barely mentioned by the media or big business currently benefitting by our EU Membership. This is at the expense of the UK’s trade expansion once we are free of the shackles of EU rules and regulations, as it doesn’t fit their narrative.

We must be allowed to Leave the EU properly – not tied into the restrictions of the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, or even worse, the ‘Malthouse Compromise’ which would tie us into the Transition Period for 3 years instead of Mrs May’s 2. We would still be expected to pay huge sums of money to the EU, despite not being a member and, according to the House of Lords European Union Committee ruling as published on the 4th March 2017, having no legal obligation to do so. We would also have to preserve the current level of trade tariffs, and would have no freedom to sign new trade deals with the rest of the world. This is the very opposite of ‘Taking Back Control’.

We have analysed the 8 major faults with Theresa May’s deal, which you can read here. There is far more to be worried about than the Irish Backstop. The Withdrawal Agreement would not give businesses the certainty they desperately need, and would not give the 17.4 million people who voted Leave in the EU Referendum what they asked for!

Vitally, the WTO Article 24 option needs to be given serious consideration. It would deliver on the will of the people – something which neither the Withdrawal Agreement or the suggested Malthouse Compromise would do. Both of those options seem to be dictated around self-interested principles of the governing elite.

Why does any of this suddenly become more important than the reasons people voted to Leave the EU? This is so often misinterpreted as ‘they didn’t know what they were voting for’! 17.4 million people believed David Cameron when he said: “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide”, and then went out to vote in the EU Referendum, giving the Government the biggest ever mandate for any vote in our history. They were certain they were voting to Leave the EU and its political and economic institutions, and expected the Government to honour its pledge.

We all understand businesses and our economy matter, and it is vital the UK continues to prosper; however, this should not be to the detriment of the British political system and people’s confidence in such a system. Endlessly we are told, people did not vote to make themselves poorer, but what is then missed out is people did vote to leave the EU.

These are principles which are important to ordinary people who have been left behind by the modern globalised world. Why should they continue to suffer simply because multi-million-pound businesses are unwilling to make changes to how they operate? It is time to move past the scare-mongering and special interests of elite, self-concerned groups, so we can get out of the EU as soon as possible. There is a whole real world outside the EU, and not simply a self-interested federalist project across the English Channel, seemingly determined to drain us of every penny they can get their hands on, only to give little in return.

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