David Davis MP writes in The Express on why the Conservatives must unite on Brexit to oppose the threat from Labour
As published on Express.co.uk:
LABOUR’S conference this week has brought home the stark reality. Under Jeremy Corbyn, we see the advent of the most extreme Labour policy platform and leader in history and the real threat of a Marxist government which would wreck our country – nationalising water, energy and the railways, raising taxes, undermining all the economic progress we have made since 2010.
On Brexit, Labour presents an even greater risk.
By refusing to rule out a Remain option in any second referendum, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer let the cat out of the bag.
There is no better way to undermine our negotiators than this.
Europe will do anything to hang on to the ability to spend £10billion of British taxpayer’s money every year.
So, the prospect of us staying in is a gift to their negotiators. Labour’s proposed referendum gives the EU every incentive to offer the worst-possible deal.
So the threat is clear and the Conservative Party needs to reunite and refocus its energies on Corbyn to develop an attractive prospectus after Brexit and save our nation from the threat of such an extreme alternative.
The key question is, how do you reunite our party so we deal with the Brexit challenge and then focus on the real challenge ahead of keeping Corbyn out? This week has offered a clear path.
On Monday, the world-renowned Institute for Economic Affairs launched its alternative Brexit plan – Plan A+.
It’s a well-thought-through, credible alternative plan put together by a heavyweight team of former trade negotiators.
The beauty of this plan is that we would take back control of our laws, our money and our borders – no ifs, no buts, no maybes.
It would return the Conservative Government to the agreed policy we unanimously supported and which was outlined by the Prime Minister at Lancaster House, Mansion House and in Florence.
Follow this path and we avoid a divisive and fractious crisis and turn our guns where they belong, focused on Corbyn and his collection of assorted Marxist cronies.
The Government is now claiming that only the Chequers plan will solve the Northern Ireland border problem.
However, only two weeks ago two ex-secretaries of state for Northern Ireland, and David Trimble, all made clear that Chequers was neither necessary nor effective in dealing with the Northern Ireland border.
A practical plan was laid out by them to deal with all issues.
Even more surprising, it was claimed that a “no-deal” option was better than a free-trade plan.
But a no-deal option would involve charging tariffs on trade between the Republic of Ireland and all of the UK, including Northern Ireland.
This is manageable without a hard border but it is significantly more difficult than with a zero-triff, free-trade deal. It would also be devastatingly harmful to the Irish economy.
No deal is definitely better than a bad deal but no deal is definitely worse than a free-trade deal.
Believe me, I worked around the clock for two years negotiating with the European Union on behalf of the UK.
I know Plan A+ can work and that we have the means to solve the Northern Ireland border issue.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet must now face up to the reality.
After Theresa May’s meeting in Salzburg, Chequers is dead. The EU has made this clear.
There is little support for Chequers in Parliament, our party or the country.
It is less popular than the Poll Tax. Polling shows Chequers will cost the Conservatives votes and deliver a Corbyn government.
Rightly, the Prime Minister has ruled out the half-way house of the Norway option.
Such an approach would consign us to the worst of all worlds as a rule taker with little influence.
Rightly, she has ruled out delays or referenda, the tactics of people who want to keep us in Europe but do not dare say so.
Plan A+ offers the Brexit prize of a prosperous future and control of our own destiny.
Seizing this opportunity can secure trade deals around the globe while retaining our friendship with EU members.
It’s time to reunite, refocus, change tack and adopt Plan A+. If Mrs May does so there are many of us ready to back her.