Part 1

What should the UK do after we have voted to leave the European Union in the referendum that has been promised? Ian Milne, Chairman of Global Britain, has turned his mind to this question and drafted a joint letter for the prime minister and leader of the opposition to send to all European leaders and heads of state…

Your Excellencies, Presidents, Premiers and Prime Ministers,

UK Resumption of Sovereignty

The purpose of this letter is to let you know how the implementation of the electorate’s decision by Her Majesty’s Government will affect the principal strands of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This letter also constitutes the UK’s official notification of its decision to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (as amended by the “Lisbon Treaty”) and sets out Her Majesty’s Government’s negotiating position at the commencement of the process of British withdrawal from the European Union.

Although the British people have now chosen to pursue a different constitutional path from that of the member states of the EU, we wish to emphasise that the centuries-old objective of constructive friendship and cooperation with our European neighbours remains unchanged. A strong, prosperous and peaceful Europe will continue to be a central aim of British policy, and from today onwards we look forward to developing with our European friends and allies a modus operandi which will further that objective.

1.      Timing

The United Kingdom will become an independent sovereign state and cease to be a member of the European Union, its institutions and agencies exactly one year from now, on 19th June 2018, hereinafter referred to as I-Day. In the Treaty on European Union, the date on which the “treaties cease to apply” to the UK is I-Day.

2. Legal Certainty, EU Law and British Law

The UK will cease to be subject to EU law, regulation and case law on I-Day. As fromtomorrow, 20th June 2017, and for the next 12 months until I-Day, only British courts, including the UK Supreme Court as the highest court in the UK, will interpret and apply EU law, without reference to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Accordingly, from tomorrow, judgements of the ECJ and the ECHR concerning British individuals, corporate bodies and HM Government will not be applied in the UK, but referred to UK courts for determination. EU Directives and Regulations agreed before 20th June 2017 but not yet transposed into British Law will not be so implemented.

From tomorrow until I-Day, and from I-Day onwards, EU Directives and Regulations already transposed into British law will continue to be valid, and enforced solely by British courts without reference to the ECJ and ECHR, until repealed by the Westminster Parliament or the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

3. Managing the Transition

A new British ministry, the Ministry of EU Transitional Arrangements, META, headed by a senior Cabinet minister, will be charged, as from tomorrow, 20th June 2017, with the responsibility for managing and implementing the transition process. The creation of META will facilitate negotiations by giving our allies and friends in EU-27, the EEA, EFTA and outside Europe a “single telephone number” for all matters concerned with British disengagement from the EU.

META will be organised into 31 Departments, mirroring the 31 outward-facing Directorates-General and Services of the European Commission. Other British ministries (HM Treasury, the FCO, Business, Agriculture and Fisheries, Defence etc etc) will report to META on all transition matters. META will be principally staffed by senior executives from the British private sector, from business, transport, energy, City, farming, fishing, military and legal circles. META may invite other UK ministries to second civil servants to it on temporary contracts.

In trade matters, non-British executives with current high-level experience of negotiating free trade agreements will be recruited from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway and Switzerland.

META will complete the bulk of its work by I-Day, but remain in existence for a further two years, to help resolve any outstanding issues. By statute, it will be dissolved on20th June 2020, exactly three years from today.

4. Council of Ministers & European Parliament

From today, British ministers and their staff will cease to attend meetings of the Council of Ministers and of the European Council, unless invited to do so by their opposite numbers in Brussels. British MEPs will continue to represent their constituents in the European Parliament until I-Day, but will not participate or vote in any new legislation brought before the parliament in the next twelve months. Their salaries and allowances will be progressively reduced over this period to reflect their reduced workload. They will resign their seats on I-Day and thereafter take no further part in the parliament’s activities.

5. EU Budget

The UK’s monthly gross contributions to and receipts from the EU Budget will be reduced by 1/12th on a straight-line basis in each of the 12 months between now and I-Day, to reflect the progressive disengagement of the UK from the EU over that period.

6. Trade

On I-Day, the UK will withdraw from the EU Customs Union, known as the Single Market, and the European Economic Area. UK trade will cease to be regulated by the EU. On the same day, the UK will resume its own seat and vote in the councils and assemblies of the World Trade Organisation and the World Customs Union. From I-Day onwards, the UK will trade with the EU without an EU-UK Free Trade Agreement placing it, trade-wise, in the same position in relation to the EU as the USA, Japan and China and many other countries with which the EU does not have trade agreements. Those countries trade with the EU without FTAs, under the WTO umbrella. Following I-Day, so will the UK.

The UK will withdraw from the European Economic Area, on I-Day. (Today, under Article 127 of the 1994 Agreement on the European Economic Area and subsequent amendments, the UK has given contracting parties the required twelve months’ notice of its withdrawal.)

The practical result of UK withdrawal from the EU Customs Union, its “Single Market” and the European Economic Area is that the UK, in its post-exit trading relations with the EU and the rest of the world, will not be adopting the so-called “Norwegian Option” of semi-detached participation in the Single Market. Neither will the UK adopt the “Swiss Option” of sectoral bilateral Free Trade Agreements (“FTAs”) with the EU, nor the “Turkish Option” of membership of the EU Customs Union.

7. Post I-Day, the UK to declare and implement free trade with the world

On I-Day, the United Kingdom will unilaterally declare and implement free trade (that is to say, trade free of customs duties, tariffs, quotas and other restrictions) with the whole world, including the EU, under the treaty, legal and regulatory umbrellas of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (the WTO), the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UNO). Imports into the UK from EU-27 will enter the UK freely with zero customs duties/tariffs and with zero quantitative restrictions, though quality controls (technical, pharmaceutical, veterinary etc) will remain in place. On I-Day, in respect of incoming Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) and associated flows of licence fees, dividends and interest, the UK will repeal any remaining restrictions apart from those concerning national security. On I-Day there will be no change in the UK’s policy of welcoming FDI from all countries, including members of the EU. The UK, having unilaterally declared free trade with all other countries, will invite all other countries, including EU-members, to reciprocate by treating UK exports in the same way.

The UK will equip itself with WTO-compatible reserve powers enabling it, from I-Day onwards, to apply countervailing measures, based on reciprocity, on imports from any of its trading partners which persistently discriminate unfairly against UK exports.

Continued in UKIP Daily tomorrow

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