Our correspondent Roger Arthur sent in the following letter with an example of a letter Tory MPs are sending out:
It looks as if No 10 has sent out a standard text, for MPs to use in response to constituents who have been critical of the Chequers proposal.
So I have pasted below what seems to be the standard Tory text plus a possible response further below.
Perhaps you your readers could let me know if they can improve on it. Many thanks.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
Letter from Tory MP
Dear (name of constituent)
Thank you for contacting me about the agreement reached at Chequers on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. I strongly believe that the Prime Minister’s proposals represent a realistic and practical vision that delivers the referendum decision in full.
The UK will leave the EU, including the Single Market and the Customs Union on 29 March 2019. As we leave the EU, free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will no longer apply and the days of sending vast sums of money to Brussels every year are over for good.
We will also leave the Common Agriculture Policy and the Commons Fisheries Policy and we will once again be able to strike our own trade deals.
The Chequers agreement provides a commitment for the UK to maintain a common rule book on industrial goods and agricultural products so that we have a free trade area with the EU, but it will be Parliament that has a final say on any new rules or regulations.
These rules have been relatively stable since the 1980s and the Government has always been clear that UK standards should be as high, if not higher, than those of the EU and so I believe that having a common rule book as a minimum is a reasonable proposal.
Having common rules on goods, as well as a new business friendly customs model, will ensure all our borders with the EU will continue to operate without friction – to the huge benefit of manufacturers and food producers in the UK and British consumers.
It will also ensure that there is no hard border in Northern Ireland or any border down the Irish Sea.
It is important to remember that nearly 80 per cent of the UK economy is based on services such as finance, accounting and law. These will not be affected by proposals on a common rule book and the Government wants to be free to ensure the UK can maintain its world leading position on services in the future.
This will also help provide the flexibility we need in striking new free trade arrangements.
The UK believes that this approach will allow us to strike new deals and the position has been welcomed, for example, by the Prime Minister of Australia.
Our analysis suggests that it is likely to be possible for the UK to enter, as one example, the Trans Pacific Partnership – increasing trade with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many of the growth economies of the Pacific.
And after we leave, we will want to continue working with the EU on security issues while having an independent foreign and defence policy.
The Chequers agreement contains sensible, common-sense proposals that deliver on the Brexit promises that people voted for, works for businesses and ensures we take back control of our borders, law and money.
Many have told me that they voted in 1975 for increased trade an(d) partnership with Europe but not for political union with Europe – that is what, to my mind, this deal would deliver.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Yours sincerely, (Tory MPs signature)
Possible response to MP:
Dear (Tory MP)
Thank you for your response, which is remarkably similar to responses received from many other Tory MPs across the country. Perhaps you could let us know who the originator was, because many might suspect that it was Ollie Robbins.
As you may have seen from an analysis of the Chequers Proposal, by Martin Howe QC, the UK is to be bound by the EU rulebook and would have to “obey and apply in complete detail the laws promulgated by the EU without having a vote on the content of those laws.”
Clearly acceptance of the EU “common rule book” will limit our room for manoeuvre in trade negotiations, constraining the UK’s ability to exploit opportunities, such as joining the Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP).
The 93% of UK companies which don’t even export to the Single Market, have to comply with EU regulations, at a cost equivalent to 7% of GDP (£140bn pa) according to Gordon Brown in 2005. Our ability to offload much of that enormous burden will clearly be prejudiced by the Chequers proposal.
So are you seriously suggesting that paying £39 billion for that is a good deal, bearing in mind that the EU will not accept that proposal and will expect the PM to make more concessions? What would you regard as a bad deal?
Also of concern is the way in which an un-elected civil servant seems to have taken a lead in drawing up the Chequers proposal, bypassing elected government ministers in the process.
As seen from press photographs David Davis was still reading Cabinet papers, with his back the PM, who had seemingly withheld the papers, until after her meeting with Mrs Merkel – no doubt on the advice of Olly Robbins.
So your party seems to have returned us to the days of Blair, when Ministers had little influence over what Blair and his advisors decided.
If you fail to deliver Brexit for the 408 (62.8%) constituencies which voted to leave the EU, then your party will pay a very heavy price. In particular, it is essential that the PM does not ask for an extension to Article 50 and is not foolish enough to arrange another referendum. Please could you urge the PM strongly not to be so foolish as to pursue either of those options.
What we need now is strong leadership and direction to deliver “Brexit means Brexit”, taking us fully out of the single market, the customs union and free of the EU rule book. That is what Leaving the EU means.
The phony war and the time for compromise, is over and the real Battle for Britain is just beginning. Will you be fighting for the survival of your party, or for the will of 408 constituencies?