Only a madman would leave the Single Market
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Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP
House of Commons
As a prominent Leave campaigner, we are dismayed that your campaign now aims at a wholly different destination to that you campaigned on before the Referendum.
Prior to June 23rd 2016, you were ‘absolutely clear’ that the UK should stay in the Single Market, saying it was vital for 4.5m to 5m jobs. You were also ‘absolutely clear’ you were campaigning to leave the Political but not the Economic union, with the UK remaining a major player in the European Economic Area.
In fact, during the campaign, you stated that ‘only a madman would leave the market’.
Your line was consistent with others pro-Leave campaigners, Daniel Hannan for instance saying ‘Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market’.
Over and over, voters were told they should be confident the economic benefits of the EU would be retained in a vote to leave it. We believe this narrative affected how people voted, and with two thirds of all Leave voters saying it was ‘unlikely’ or ‘very unlikely’ the UK would leave the Single Market, we would say the data backs it up.
Following the Referendum your position has progressively changed. By September 2017, you were saying ‘Continued membership of the ‘single market’ (the Norway option) - the stated goal of the Labour Party - would be an historic mistake’.
And now, in October, you accuse Labour of betraying the national interest in its commitment to securing a deal with the EU. You are now stating that staying in the Single Market is a bad deal for the UK.
This week you were “absolutely” seeking for Government to notify the EU of our intent to move to WTO rules. Indeed, you now tell us WTO rules allow the UK to ‘grab the huge advantages of leaving the Single Market’.
We will make ourselves ‘absolutely clear’, leaving the Single Market for WTO rules is devastating for our country. That’s not us saying it, it is virtually every serious economist.
We, the undersigned, are also ‘absolutely clear’ that the Leave campaign, of which you played a prominent part, was fought on a false prospectus. It has brought division and disunity in our country, and for that you should feel accountable for the role you have played.
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