Outlining ERG Brexit views

In the letters page, Aidan Harrison asked our MP to justify why she has allied herself to members of the European Research Group (ERG) (Berwick Advertiser, February 1).

By The Newsroom
Friday, 09 February, 2018, 12:00

Mrs Trevelyan may be too busy so I’ll have a go for her.

The ERG is a respected and long-established group of about 80 Tory parliamentarians. Mrs Trevelyan is entitled to join any such group of like-minded colleagues.

One of its early supporters was Daniel Hannan, the MEP who wanted the end of the NHS.

The newly-elected chairman is Jacob Rees-Mogg, who opposes climate change laws and raising benefits for the disabled, but supports zero hours contracts.

The ERG wants a hard Brexit and may even fall out with the Prime Minister if she allows the European Court of Justice (ECJ) some role in, say, citizens’ rights or nuclear matters.

The group’s reason for its hard Brexit stand is that ‘the people’ (well, a third of them) want to take back control of our laws, our money and our boundaries.

The ‘laws’ bit leads to its anti-ECJ stand, but I don’t know if it also wishes to leave other international courts. As Britain helped set them up, presumably they are suitable for other countries, but not for us.

The ‘money’ bit refers, for example, to the famous £350million a week, which might reach the NHS, but can’t yet as the Brexit process is already costing the country about that same sum.

Of course, the ‘money’ argument might refer to how well the country will do economically once we actually leave.

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Presumably that argument will be heard less now that the Government’s secret impact assessment has been leaked; it reveals that the possible Brexit outcomes will all damage our growth.

‘Boundaries’ originally referred to cutting immigration. Mrs May, when she was Home Secretary, failed to use the powers she had in this field.

Anyway, the problem has changed since then; our failure to up-skill means we need foreign workers for longer, also, potential trade deal partners like India want access.

The ‘boundaries’ with Ireland are tricky too.

In Mrs Trevelyan’s own words, also from the February 1 edition, apparently we have ‘a smooth and stable Brexit process’. Judge for yourselves.

We have ‘a bold and bright future for Northumberland’, although the Government’s leaked assessment says the North East will suffer most.

Finally, we must ‘work together and support our Prime Minister’, presumably as exemplified by the Tory civil war.

Peter Watts

Berwick-upon-Tweed