John Redwood discusses the new Government's first key decision: whether to initiate Brexit by means of rapid UK Parliamentary legislation, or whether to go for an early notification under Article 50.

Brexit means Brexit, so says our new Prime Minister in her first speech as the new Leader of the Conservative Party. In another twist to the incredible plot of the Conservative leadership election, Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the race, allowing Theresa May to inherit the position.

It is curious that all 3 senior Conservatives groomed for prominence in the Vote Leave campaign have now been eliminated from the Leadership contest. Vote Leave chose Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom as their preferred voices and faces from the Conservative side, and gave them the lion's share of the media to do. Each of them fancied their chances of leadership based on that exposure, but two bowed out of the contest and one was eliminated by MP ballot.

There are now discussions going on about how the new Pm can best keep faith with the UK voter electorate, getting us out of the EU in a timely and successful way. She says she will appoint a Brexiteer as Chief Negotiator. She will also have to make sure the official team are well briefed, confident about the strength of the UK's negotiating position, and aware that we do not have to do it according to the Treaty rules.

The first main decision the new government has to take is whether to proceed by means of rapid UK Parliamentary legislation, or whether to go for an early notification under Article 50 with a tight timetable for the negotiations. You could even do both together.

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The draft Bill is available. It would take back control by repealing the 1972 Act which is the origin of EU power in the UK. It would put into UK law all outstanding EU requirements, to leave in place the tariff free trade and regulations prior to discussions with the rest of the EU about whether they want any changes to that. It would allow early changes to our borders policy and cancellation of our subscriptions.

The negotiation needs to start from the proposition that we are taking back control of our borders and money. These should not be in contention. The only thing the UK would like is continued tariff free trade. It should not take long to find out if the EU wants to place WTO style low tariffs on us or not. As WTO rules would allow us to place quite high tariffs on French agricultural produce and 10 per cent tariffs on cars it seems unlikely they would want to do that.

Article 50 is not a great basis for the negotiation as it implies all is in the pot for debate and all could take a long time. I would rather trigger it to complete their process after all has been sorted out. If the government refuses to get on with legislating then a poor second would be immediate Article 50 followed by very tough negotiations and a willingness to simply pull out of talks and legislate if they are unrealistic.

Meanwhile, however we do it, the government needs to produce its new migration scheme and tell people coming to our country new rules will apply.


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