Voices from across EU referendum and party political divides have come together today to set out a shared vision of how the UK can ‘Brexit Together’, covering issues of immigration, the economy and market access, security and sovereignty.
Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Caroline Flint, who supported a Remain referendum vote, together with Conservatives Nadhim Zahawi MP and Daniel Hannan MEP, and commentator Toby Young, who campaigned to Leave, have welcomed the new ‘Brexit Together manifesto’ released today by individuals from organisations including the Adam Smith Institute, Bright Blue, British Future, Conservatives for Liberty, The Fabian Society, Modern Britain and ‘Brexit: The Movie’.
Welcoming the Brexit Together Manifesto, Caroline Flint MP said: “The next two years cannot be about game playing. We need honest discussion and honest endeavour to achieve the best outcome from the path the country has chosen. I believe there is a deal to be had which most Leave and Remain voters can accept.”
Nadhim Zahawi MP said: “Brexit needs to work for all Britons, not just for those who backed the winning campaign. We all want a modern, thriving Britain outside the EU that stays open to new people, new ideas and new creators of prosperity, and which maintains close trading and diplomatic ties with our nearest neighbours. Today we all state our commitment to work together to make these things a reality.”
Ryan Shorthouse, Director of think tank Bright Blue, said: “It is vital that the Government achieves a Brexit deal which is a suitable compromise between the two most important policy aims: greater control over EU immigration, and the mitigation and elimination of tariff and regulatory barriers with the EU to ensure free trade. To bring this country together, and to satisfy both Leavers and Remainers, the public and politicians need to recognise and support compromise in politics”.
The ‘Brexit Together’ manifesto states: We believe that a successful Brexit settlement cannot be the property of a single political party, nor solely the work of the 52% or the 48% alone. We need a Brexit settlement which delivers on the core values of sovereignty and control reflected in the majority vote to Leave; which protects the close trading relationship that was the top concern of those who wanted to Remain; and which promotes a post-Brexit vision of an inclusive and outward-facing Britain.
Key recommendations include:
Trade – Failing to agree a deal with the EU27, and falling back to trade on WTO rules, would be a damaging economic and political failure for both sides. The UK should negotiate the closest possible comprehensive free trade deal with the EU on equal terms, seeking to minimise and eliminate both tariff and regulatory barriers to trade in goods and services. Britain should be ready to leave the customs union in order to strike new trade deals with non-EU countries.
Immigration – The UK should move on from free movement to a new immigration system that offers UK control of unskilled immigration while still making a positive immigration offer to the EU as part of a broader trade deal. Britain should guarantee the status of the 3 million EU nationals in Britain as quickly as possible, outside of the formal exit negotiations, and secure a reciprocal commitment to Britons who have made their lives elsewhere in the EU.
Security – Britain should seek a ‘special relationship’ with the EU on foreign and security policy, making clear its willingness to take part in joint UK/EU military and civilian missions in the European neighbourhood, for example in the Balkans. Post-Brexit Britain should also be clear that it will continue to make a strong contribution to international security in both military and development efforts.
Sovereignty – There is little point in leaving the EU if the UK seeks a new relationship from the outside that simply seeks to imitate EU membership wherever possible – but the UK should not see breaking all ties as a positive outcome. Britain should seek to negotiate a positive, new partnership, different to EU membership but which does reflect our close historical and geographical ties with Europe and our wish to maintain close, friendly links with our neighbours.
After the referendum, more than 304,000 people have taken part in debates on the 38 Degrees website about how the UK should approach Brexit. Hundreds of 38 Degrees members have secured meetings with more than 150 MPs across the country to debate the issues raised in the new manifesto.
David Babbs, Executive Director of 38 Degrees, said:
“Decisions about Brexit are way too important to leave to Westminster. So up and down the country, thousands of us will be debating the principles set out in the Brexit Manifesto, online and in face-to-face meetings with our local MPs. We’re working together, whether we voted Leave or Remain, to find the common ground for a Brexit that works for everyone.”