BBC host forced to intervene as huge row erupts between MEPs – ‘you said Brits are a mess’

A HUGE row erupted between Labour MEP Seb Dance and Brexiteer MEP David Campbell Bannerman after the Remainer blamed Britain’s Leave supporters for creating a “mess” out of Brexit.

Speaking on David’s last day in Brussels as an MEP (having packed up his flat and office!) he debates a Labour MEP arguing strongly that MEP elections are wrong and shouldn’t be held

You can listen to the BBC Radio 4 clip recording here:

 

express.co.uk

The heated debate began when Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman called for Britain to leave the European Union with no deal and then do a full comprehensive free trade agreement, often referred to as a “Super Canada” deal, with the Brussels bloc. BBC host John Humphrys then pointed out how the Labour MEP was “turning his nose up” and “sneering” at the prospect of a so-called super-Canada deal.

Mr Campbell Bannerman attempted to defend calls for a comprehensive free trade agreement and insisted it was “entirely doable” and “what the EU wants”.

But the Labour MEP hit back and said: “It’s not what businesses are calling for either.”

The Tory MEP blasted: “You want frictionless trade. That’s the problem all along.”

Mr Dance insisted he does was frictionless trade in the same way Britain has it as an EU member. But the Tory Brexiteer fired back and said: “That’s created the political crisis, Seb. You are responsible for it.

“You and Labour, you made that.”

The Labour MEP replied: “Don’t blame us for this mess. This is your programme and not mine.”

Mr Bannerman Campbell blasted: “Sorry but do you think the British people are a mess too? You know that nearly 60 percent of Labour constituencies back Leave. You don’t actually respect that result.”

The pair continued to shout over each other and the BBC host was forced to intervene. Mr Humphrys said: “Hang on a second and let him finish his point.”

Mr Dance added: “The Brexit that was sold in 2016, the prospectus that was sold in 2016 is so markedly different from all of the options that are now on the table, including what you now appear to be advocating, i.e. a no deal.

“The idea that there is somehow a mandate for no deal on the basis of the campaign in 2016 is clearly wrong.

“So, the idea that you shouldn’t check now that what the deliverable options are is what the British people would want is, I think, profoundly democratic.”

The UK has until April 10 to come up with a new Brexit plan – or may face leaving the union without a deal two days later on April 12.

EU leaders are due to meet at a summit on April 10, where Mrs May will be expected to present her new deal. But last week, European Commission president Donald Tusk offered the UK a lengthy delay to Brexit, of up to one year.

You can see the article as it appeared here.

How to get Brexit back on track when the Withdrawal Agreement is rejected by MPs

The current political turmoil and constitutional crisis has so many twists and turns that it makes House of Cards look pedestrian.

Of course the real issue comes down to what happens when – rather than if – the proposed deal is voted down on tomorrow, 11th December (or even dropped).

Here there is a clear gap opening up between media reports and hard legal reality – what the actual effects are of the political manoeuvring of Dominic Grieve, Sir Keir Starmer and their merry conniving bands. There have been desperate media reports that ‘no deal’ is off the table, when it is actually remains the ‘default position’ as Andrea Leadsom told Radio 4 just last week.

Let’s assume Conservative MPs think there is enough turkey on Christmas menus not to be part of the required two-thirds majority needed to vote for a General Election, and that the EU have indeed ruled out any major renegotiation.

The bottom line is that the various options being desperately pushed by those who want ‘anything but a true Brexit’ are just not viable. There is:

  • ‘Norway Plus’ – even worse that the slavish EEA, which adds back membership of the customs union, thereby killing all future UK trade deals, and with no control of immigration, no say over EU laws, and large payments;
  • A ‘Second Referendum’ – with its totally confused offer: ‘tell us if this final 2,000-page deal is better than staying in the EU when we’ve already left. Oh, and by the way you will have to join the euro and lose the rebate’. Pointless too in that Leave is predicted to win again; or
  • Extending Article 50 to allow more muddle time – which will either mess up the EU by landing the Brexit issue right in the middle of European Parliament elections in May or mess up all the groups, chairmanships and procedures of the European Parliament in the farcical situation of British MEPs being elected for a few months.

But all such amendments to the motion are not legally binding anyway – they can only be advisory. They might bring political pressure, but they do not have legal effect. As the Commons Chief Clerk, Sir David Natzler, confirmed: whatever MPs vote on by way of motion “has no statutory significance”, as they do not constitute “a vote on whether to accept or reject no deal.” That requires new legislation. The actual law – in the EU Withdrawal Act – states clearly that we will leave on 29th March 2019.

Given that reality, and bearing in mind how rash it is to try to indicate a way forward in this maelstrom, this is what I propose now as the best next steps:

1) Assuming the vote fails on 11th December, or is put off, I believe the Government should make a statement immediately saying that preparations for a ‘no deal’ option – better called a ‘Clean Global Brexit’ or ‘World Trade Deal’ – will go into SuperDrive. Sorry, but defer Christmas!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way: in the Falklands War, the Ministry of Defence managed to put together a task force of 100 ships in just 48 hours. We can manage this process, and thousands of civil servants have been on the case for years. Like the Millennium Bug, claims of Armageddon and planes falling out the sky gave way to nothing happening on 1st January 2000.

2) The UK should then go back to Brussels, not to renegotiate this current draft Withdrawal Agreement, but to agree a pared-down, bare bones emergency series of bilateral agreements covering only the essential ‘must haves’: aviation, customs, citizens’ rights, medical products, European Investment Bank assets etc. The beauty of this is that if one agreement falls, then the others are not lost. The DUP’s Arlene Foster has proposed bilaterals. These bilaterals could be agreed by Westminster and the EU by March, and would any sane MP or MEP dare to seek to derail any such vital preparation in these circumstances? They should hold all further Westminster business, such as the Immigration and Trade bills, that may be hijacked.

3) The UK should also formally advise the EU that it wishes to accept the offer made not once but three times by the EU: that of a SuperCanada/CETA+++ Free Trade Agreement with 100% tariff- and quota-free access to the EU Single Market plus comprehensive services (first offered by Donald Tusk on 7th March), and which we could start negotiating from the day we become a ‘third country’ – 30th March next year.

We can build on the three pages on trade in the more appealing draft Political Declaration, but drop all notion of a ‘Single Customs Territory’ – the UK must firmly leave the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market. We are in a unique position to negotiate an FTA fast – as all our laws are convergent at present and we don’t have to spend years wrangling over which tariffs to keep or get rid of, as others do.

4) Having initiated moves to agree a SuperCanada FTA, the UK and EU can now jointly notify the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that in the light of working to agree a comprehensive FTA and future Political Declaration, we are invoking Article 24 of GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).

This is important because Article 24 allows us to maintain the same tariff-free access to both our markets without breaching WTO discriminatory Most Favoured Nation (MFN) laws. Article 24 allows “an interim agreement leading to a formation of a free trade area” and allows “a reasonable length of time” – up to 10 years – to negotiate it.

So, we whilst we will need customs declarations under WTO, we will be able to maintain the same zero tariffs as now with the EU – the free trade area will remain. EU exporters to the UK would save £13 billion in tariffs (and our consumers too) and UK exporters £5 billion. We will also be free to lower tariffs for other trading partners as we wish – something specifically excluded in the Backstop. Nor should there be any Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) either under WTO agreements.

We can also enact the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement which recently came into force that obliges the EU27 to adopt measures like authorised economic operators (trusted traders), which are part of the solution for the Northern Ireland border issue along with electronic declarations and remote checks away from the border.

5) As a sign of Britain’s free trade intent, we can now immediately initiate full and unfettered negotiations with international trade partners such as the USA, China and India, without these deals being torpedoed by being tied into the EU Customs Union, Chequers or the Backstop. The picture would be clear at last, and not be delayed by unending years of transition. Similarly, we will seek to build on current work to ‘roll over’ the benefits and obligations of existing EU trade deals such as that with South Korea.

6) So, on 30th March the UK can be cleanly out of the European Union and back into the world, with an acceptable and managed World Trade Deal option in place, free of years more wrangling over transitional arrangements, cost demands, alternative models and heightened business uncertainty – and with negotiations underway for a closer SuperCanada trade deal. We can reallocate much of the £39 billion payment lost by the EU to compensate UK-based companies legally in terms of R&D, regional aid and transport infrastructure – helping to stimulate our economy.

Like an operation we know needs doing, let us get on with the surgery quickly and speed up the recovery process.

This is indeed a Clean Global Brexit. Brexit could be over in a few months, rather than drag on for years on end.

And, for all our sakes – both Remainer and Brexiteer – let’s just get it done.

You can see David’s piece as it appears at brexitcentral here.

Chequers is burying Theresa May. Only Canada can save her from further humiliation

So the Prime Minister would rather have a “no deal” scenario for our country than a “Canada-style” deal, claiming that it would break up the UK, whilst shooting off to New York to talk to President Trump about doing a US free trade deal.

This has become utterly absurd and embarrassing – ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ without the laughs. The Prime Minister is setting herself up for yet another Salzburg-type slap at our party conference, and conceivably from President Trump too. Number 10 has descended into bunker mode and has ceased to act or react rationally. Many of the advisers and ministers responsible are not doing the Prime Minister any favours, they are burying her, just for the sake of saving their own political skins. She does not deserve to be left so exposed.

The clear reality is that Chequers is dead. Only what I call a ‘SuperCanada’ deal will work – a deal based on Canada’s 99% access to the Single Market, with no free movement or access fees, but bigger, better and wider, drawing too on the Japan deal. Like Jacob Rees Mogg, who referred to SuperCanada this week, I don’t mind if you call it “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” Canada – but please just use Canada!

For a start, as the trade lawyer and author of the IEA’s PlanA+ alternative report this week Shanker Singham made clear: Chequers effectively takes Britain’s ability to do proper international trade deals off the table. He went on to say the Americans he met there just last week are laughing at Chequers, and that it is even a legal requirement from Congress that goods are included in US free trade agreements – how can we do this when our hands are tied under EU goods regulatory slavery (the so-called ‘EU common rulebook’)? What is the point of discussing a US trade deal that is either half destroyed by Chequers or illegal under US federal law?

I know full well from nearly ten years of working on EU trade deals, including Canada, India, New Zealand, South Korea and Colombia/Peru, that international trading partners regard goods as the core of their free trade deals, and they will not give ground in other areas that we covet, such as services, without those goods basics being on the negotiating table. Chequers blows up half the benefits of every single trade deal we want to negotiate. Goods tariffs are still very real in the world and these unhelpful trade wars are adding to them, not subtracting from them.

Also, if Britain is applying to become a customs assessment and duty collection agent for the EU under this clumsy Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) proposal in Chequers, the omens are not good. The EU is about to demand legally that the UK pays £3 billion in what it claims is incorrectly assessed customs duties by UK customs on Chinese goods. They think we are unable to handle customs duties now let alone when we become independent again.

Let’s be direct, the EU is not actually negotiating when Mr Juncker warned in his State of the Union speech “you cannot be in part of the Single Market” – it is setting out its core, inconvertible principles and beliefs, and they will not change during the negotiations. They will not accept Chequers. The misreading of the EU position by close advisers and diplomatic teams was gross negligence, and they are truly to blame for the terrible way Mrs May was treated.

What has happened since the Prime Minister so effectively achieved her red lines and Lancaster House aims on 7th March this year? After meeting her in Number 10, the EU’s President Tusk graciously accepted those red lines and offered us a great trade deal, the best the EU has ever offered, saying: “I propose that we aim for a trade agreement covering all sectors and with zero tariffs on goods (this is CETA+) Like other free trade agreements, it should address services (that takes it to CETA++, only one extra + short).”

The EU’s negotiator Mr Barnier reiterated this offer and went further as recently as 2nd August saying: “It is possible to respect EU principles and create a new and ambitious partnership… the EU has offered a Free Trade Agreement with zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions for goods. It proposed close customs and regulatory cooperation and access to public procurements, to name but a few examples.” The EU wants a Canada style deal. It is after all very familiar to them.

So, we were home and dry. Our red lines met, the excellent guidelines laid down in Theresa May’s speeches such as at Lancaster House and Mansion House met. The Government White Paper reflected a Canadian style deal – certainly to Version 9, and the Brexit Department ministers were all content with the general direction.

But just a few months later, we get the disastrous Chequers proposal, leading directly to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson and a succession of other ministers, an approval rating amongst Conservative voters of 17 per cent, turmoil in the party, a bounce from 2 per cent to 7 per cent in the polls for Ukip, and the prospect of a disastrous 1970s Communist tribute government under Mr Corbyn escalated immeasurably. How could this have gone so wrong so quickly?

The reality is that it is UK ‘business’ interests who have caused this chaos, the villains being the Remain Treasury, the Business department and the appallingly contemptuous enemies of democracy and the people, the CBI. They argued strongly for Remain in the Referendum and are doing everything possible now to undermine the result – regardless of the price for democracy. They have conspired with the EU to shamelessly exploit, exaggerate and twist the Irish border issue for their own selfish purposes, seeking to keep the UK entrapped within the Eurosphere of red tape and cosy corporate laws.

It is a giveaway when major corporate business concerns claim to be fighting like saints for trade worth less than £2 billion a year. But ironically now the EU is actively promoting a free trade agreement solution, as Brexiteers like myself are, it is business interests in the UK who threaten a no deal outcome through their own idiocy. They would rather hang on lazily to the business they have now with the EU than lift their eyes to a reality where 90 per cent of the growth in the world in the next 10 to 15 years will come from outside Europe – so says their friends at the IMF.

They and the Number 10 bunker are not interested in finding an actual solution for the Northern Ireland border. Indeed, a reported private briefing by an adviser suggested they weren’t interested in finding a solution. I have helped on four separate papers now on this issue, one of which was presented to the Brexit select committee, and the ERG paper “The Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland post Brexit”, was written by one former Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, and supported by another Theresa Villiers, by our former Brexit negotiator David Davis, Lord Trimble, Sammy Wilson of the DUP and many others. How much support does the Chequers cabal want to see demonstrated?

Now even the EU are talking openly of such technological solutions and checks away from the border – Mr Barnier himself – whilst Mr Varadkar has revealed that the EU has told Ireland there is no need for a hard border, which the UK has made clear too. So, what exactly is the problem needing to be solved?

With a border free of any need for tariff and quota checks, with goods checked now in Ireland running at a mere 1 per cent, animal welfare checks in existence anyway, with successful borders in existence for excise duty, VAT, corporate taxes and currency, then a few more checks away from the border, the use of existing technology, and a bit of creativity will do the job. This is hardly the same challenge as the Irish peace process – which I had the privilege of being part of.

There is only a problem if you are determined not to find a solution.

You can read the article as it appeared at the telegraph.co.uk here

David Campbell Bannerman is a Conservative MEP, spokesman for the ECR group on international trade and author of the ‘SuperCanada’ trade deal proposal.

How Theresa May can avoid a Brexit bloodbath in seven simple steps

As we approach our party conference, I am fearful we may expect scenes reminiscent of the bloodbath of the Maastricht debates of the early 1990s. I remember Major’s Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd citing the similarity of that debate to the Corn Laws under Peel, that split the party in two – between pro-protectionism and pro-free trade – and the roar in the Hall as he was shouted down. Here we go again.

This time the debate is Chequers or Canada – Canada defined as a SuperCanada/CETA+++ Free Trade Agreement, that suits not only Canada but our Commonwealth cousins New Zealand and Australia, who are now using Canada as the template for their deals with the EU. SuperCanada has become a Commonwealth deal.

But with the clock showing a few minutes to midnight, the Chequers option is facing a brick wall. A combination of strong party and Westminster opposition – with even former Brexit ministers David Davis and Steve Baker resolutely pledging to vote the deal down – and 80 MPs now willing to put country and principle first. Relying on Labour votes to drive a deal so resolutely unpopular in the Conservative party through risks ‘Corn Laws 2 – the Sequel’. More likely Labour will oppose the Chequers deal and it will fail, ushering in no deal.

The UK polling data is frightening: only 19 per cent Conservative voters (YouGov) think we are doing a good job at the negotiations. Add to this the 29 per cent of voters in 44 Conservative marginal seats would be less likely to support their local Conservative member if that member supported Chequers, and Chequers clearly risks handing Corbyn the keys to Number 10 on a silverplate – complete with a bouquet of red roses.

Then there’s the EU. Monsieur Barnier is very charming and polite in saying he likes ‘parts’ of the White Paper, presumably after desperate urging. It is not clear whether this is the content – or the binding, printing style or phraseology.

Comparing the key Brexit models: Chequers v Canada plus

Chequers Canada +
Control of borders EU citizens will keep their current free movement rights until the end of the transition. The UK has yet to set out what it would have in its place afterwards. The UK would have total freedom over immigration policy, at the price of more limited trading access to the EU market.
Solving the Irish question The UK intends to avoid a hard border by aligning with all EU rules “necessary to provide for frictionless trade”. The UK would be outside the customs union but would have a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, limiting the need for checks through technology.
Control of rules The UK would follow “a common rulebook”, requiring it to copy EU regulations on goods and agri-food. MPs would have to accept the “consequences” if they want to ignore certain rules The UK would be able to change its rules much more, with smooth cross-border trade ensured by a system of “mutual recognition”
Free-trade greatness The UK could in theory strike deals with countries outside of the EU. But lack of flexibility would limit its attractiveness. The UK would leave the customs union and avoid any common rulebook, so there should be no curbs.
Control of laws The European Court of Justice would no longer have “direct jurisdiction” over the UK, but British judges would have to pay “due regard” to its previous rulings A Joint Committee, inspired by what the EU has in place with Canada and Korea, would make binding decisions to resolve issues

 

But his original reaction was perhaps more reliable: with him saying that by allowing U.K. to “pick pieces” of the single market, such a deal “would be the end of the single market and the European project”, may not be “legally feasible”, and that he is “strongly opposed” to the proposal. Wishful reports he is being sidelined were met with firm denials in Germany and France.

So it is quite clear the core proposal in Chequers: that of a Facilitated Customs Arrangement and a EU ‘Common Rulebook’ (cunning language for signing up to EU laws with no say) are seen not just to meander over EU red lines but to stamp up and down on them with great force. Barnier fears this Chequers proposal will simply fall apart.

The EU regards the 4 freedoms and the sanctity of the Single Market as its Holy Grail – and does not like us messing with their scriptures. To separate goods laws (one core freedom) from services (another core freedom) is unacceptable, not to mention no free movement (a third) within the Single Market – like the EEA demands.

Nor does the EU want us either to continue to act as one of their customs borders, collecting duties and imposing tariffs and quotas like an agent. Inauspiciously there is a multibillion-pound battle going on with the EU suing our own customs authorities for allegedly failing to collect billions in Chinese duties. So they don’t even trust us not to turn a blind eye to fraud in their view.

If Chequers isn’t going to fly, then the expected November summit will mean no withdrawal agreement, no transition deal and both of us moving to the same relationship the EU has with China, the USA and India – a World Trade Deal (or ‘no deal’) as early as March next year. The Party Conference will be taking place five to six weeks out from that summit.

But we can rescue a deal in that timescale – as, despite denials, there is indeed a credible alternative plan, one that was our official policy only months ago. That is to revert back to Plan A (SuperCanada) with no loss of political face. An indication was the fact the gentlemanly Eurosceptic Mr Jacob Rees Mogg and gentlemanly Euro-gnthusiast Mr Barnier agreed so readily in their Brussels meeting that: Chequers is dead, long live SuperCanada!

So here’s conceivably how we might get a solution:

  1. Everyone – Eurosceptics, the EU and the U.K. Government – acknowledge how clever it was to propose Chequers 1, as it has fast illuminated our respective negotiating positions, shown UK business and industry that a closer position more akin to the Customs Union/EEA is not deliverable, clarified the EU red lines whilst allowing the EU negotiating guidelines to be made more flexible, unlocked a new EU/Irish willingness to find a sensible common sense solution on the Northern Ireland border issue (such as Mr Varadkar announcing that the EU had told him there was no need for a hard border as soon as Chequers was announced), and made it clear a deal can be struck quickly and successfully – but only along the lines of a SuperCanada/CETA+++ style trade deal, with Mr Barnier even astonishing Labour MPs on the Brexit Select Committee by his vehemence in rejecting Chequers and supporting Canada plus.
  2. The U.K. Government then announces that in light of the strength of the EU reaction and Westminster MP concerns against the Chequers proposal – as David Davis said it is merely a proposal not a deal – then the proposal is to be updated and improved – as many white papers in the negotiating process have been – into a ‘Chequers 2’ proposal. Much of Chequers 2 will remain the same other than for the trade deal section that everyone is finding so unpalatable (plus a few tweaks to the defence section).
  3. Chequers 2 will see our Government reverting back immediately to the original Brexit Department White Paper – version 9 I understand – which incorporates the SuperCanada proposal – as the basis of a deal.
  4. Chequers 2 means the Government can immediately inform President Tusk and Michel Barnier that the offer made on 7th March by Tusk and reiterated by Barnier on 2nd August is hereby accepted in principle as the basis of a future relationship for the purposes of the Withdrawal Agreement. This is an offer of 100 per cent tariff and quota-free access (one +, as Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not getting 100 per cent) and services (a second +). Deeper and more complex services (the third +) can be delivered for all via the WTO by pushing its Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) which covers 70 per cent services GDP in 50 countries, which the EU will have to follow.
  5. The EU will publicly rejoice, welcome and agree that the acceptance of the original offer President Tusk made is a breakthrough, and accept in principle to this now being the basis for an agreement at the proposed mid-November special EU Summit.
  6. Cue an outbreak of relief, joy, and celebration across Europe. The pound leaps, investment surges, the Prime Minister’s poll ratings shoot upwards. Westminster opposition parties reluctantly and gallantly declare their alternate plans for remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market are sadly no longer deliverable, and given the EU has now agreed this deal but could not agree Chequers, that in the interests of the country they will support or at least abstain on the Commons vote. (Alternatively, they will be defeated as Conservative rebels and Labour Eurosceptic rebels are ultimately likely to vote for the deal).
  7. Agree with the EU to work constructively together to resolve the Northern Ireland border issue by mid-November based on technological and creative solutions, as proposed in several UK papers (including my own) and referred to by Mr Barnier when addressing the Brexit Select Committee of MPs. Barnier helpfully said: “We need to see how and when and where these controls would take place. They could be dispersed. They could take place in different places, on board vessels, in ports outside Ireland, they could be done using technological means, they could be dispersed, as I said, or simplified in technological terms. Just to make that absolutely clear, we are not talking about a border. We are talking about controls.”

Then we can all gather in the pub, Leavers and Remainers together, to celebrate and ensure that the growth in the U.K. economy recently announced – is duly maintained, despite Brexit!

You can read the article as it appeared in the telegraph.co.uk here.

Carry On Brussels: Inside the EU

dcb in brusselsConservative David Campbell Bannerman looks to the future as he considers the prospect of a trade deal, while Sinn Fein representative Martina Anderson believes that Brexit could lead to her party’s ultimate goal of a united Ireland. Last in the series.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/carry-on-brussels-inside-the-eu/on-demand/66289-003

(Sign in/Registration on Channel 4 required)

You can download David’s ‘SuperCanada’ trade model proposal mentioned in the programme from here.

 

David Campbell Bannerman MEP gives oral evidence to the Exiting the EU Committee

UK Parliament – Exiting the European Union Committee (House of Commons): On 21 March 2018, the Joint-Spokesman on International Trade for the Conservatives in the European Parliament, David Campbell Bannerman MEP was invited to give oral evidence to UK MPs on the Exiting the EU Committee in the House of Commons on ‘The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal’. He spoke specifically on the subject of his ‘SuperCanada‘ and Irish border policy paper proposals to a full contingent of the Committee’s MPs across six political parties, including the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, and Plaid Cymru.

You can also download a transcript of the Q&A evidence (pdf) by clicking here.

The CBI is wrong yet again – this time on a Customs Union with the EU

This voice of British industry is sacrificing Britain’s global future for the diminishing markets of the past. The Customs Union may seem cosy and familiar, but in reality it is a malign protectionist fortress that hurts the poor inside and poor exporters outside the most.

Read the full article by David on the Brexit Central website – click here.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP Welcomes Decision To Allow Ministers to Campaign for Either Side in Brexit Referendum.

Writing in the Telegraph of the 5th January 2016,  David Campbell Bannerman MEP welcomed the news that Prime Minister David Cameron will allow his Ministers to campaign for either side in the Brexit Referendum once the renegotiation process has ended.  This is likely to take place next month following the European Leaders Summit on the 19th of February.   The MEP noted that as many as nine Cabinet Ministers could back the campaign to leave the EU.

See the full story here.

David Campbell Bannerman also praised the Prime Minister for his ‘wise and courageous decision’ in the Huffington Post.  The MEP noted that ‘Mr Cameron was sensible and enlightened to allow his ministers the freedom to campaign on whichever side they desire. It took courage and sound political nous.’   Moreover, the decision was ‘in the best interest of democratic politics more generally. The last thing an already cynical public want to see are the most senior politicians forced to back something they simply do not believe in, on such a massive issue of principle, just in the name of collective responsibility. There is a big enough democratic deficit and distrust of politicians as there is.’