Why I de­cided to send my no-con­fi­dence let­ter

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Turmoil - By Zac Gold­smith Stone Wycombe e Welling­bor­ough Mansfield d NW Le­ices­ter­shire rshire Lewes nd n Ship­ley Mid Bed­ford­shire

Seven­teen point four mil­lion peo­ple voted to leave the Euro­pean Union. We can be rea­son­ably con­fi­dent that very few of them did so in the hope or ex­pec­ta­tion that we would end up with any­thing like the deal that the Prime Min­is­ter has done with the EU.

In ef­fect, Bri­tain would re­main in the EU, but without hav­ing any say. Had that been the choice, I per­son­ally would have voted to Re­main. The with­drawal agree­ment we have been pre­sented with is un­ac­cept­able to Leave and Re­main vot­ers alike.

It has close to zero chance of mak­ing it through Par­lia­ment and with only five months re­main­ing, we can­not af­ford to waste any more time on it. It is the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble that dur­ing the pro­posed tran­si­tion pe­riod both sides could agree a com­pre­hen­sive free trade agree­ment and thereby avoid the so-called back­stop. But that is un­likely. The back­stop suits the EU far bet­ter than it suits the UK.

It would bind us to the sta­tus quo – re­quir­ing us to pay large an­nual sums to Brus­sels, ef­fec­tively sub­ject­ing us to cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket rules, with no UK say in fram­ing those rules – and it would di­vide North­ern Ire­land from the rest of the UK. There is lit­tle in­cen­tive for the EU to ne­go­ti­ate in good faith.

In those cir­cum­stances, the back­stop would likely be­come the long-term ar­range­ment. In­deed, in his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Dom Raab made it clear that the back­stop “is now also taken as the start­ing point for ne­go­ti­at­ing the Fu­ture Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship”. That is not ac­cept­able.

The no­tion that the choice is be­tween this deal, no deal or no Brexit is a false one. That is what the EU wants us to be­lieve. There is time to do a deal that will suit both sides bet­ter than no deal and to bring for­ward the op­tion that Brus­sels has long been ex­pect­ing – and that makes most sense for the fifth big­gest econ­omy in the world. That would be a Su­perCanadastyle free trade agree­ment. But there is no time to lose.

The Prime Min­is­ter has been clear that she will not change course, and so with huge re­luc­tance, I have sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the 1922 Com­mit­tee urg­ing a vote that will, I hope, give us the chance of a fresh start.

Zac Gold­smith is the Con­ser­va­tive MP for Rich­mond Park and North Kingston Rich­mond Park & North Kingston Mid­dles­brough South & East Cleve­land

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