by Laura Sandys
"I agree with the Brexiteers that there is a need to discover a new sense of our own potential, but we should recognise how well-respected this country is in Europe, in the Commonwealth and in the newly emerging economies. We need to build up our confidence, and further exercise our extraordinary influence and power in all the important organisations of which we are members that impact upon the world in which we live and trade. This requirement is particularly illustrated by the fact that Belgium, a small country, sells more to India than the UK, and Germany trades extensively with countries whose names our Foreign Office would find hard to place on a map – so blaming the EU for holding us back sounds distinctly hollow.
The question posed to us at the referendum is not a zero sum game: it should never be a choice between the US and the Commonwealth or Europe. We are brilliantly placed to have a dynamic role in all three and, indeed, our position in each enhances the others as Churchill’s concentric circles of Europe, the United States and the Commonwealth so brilliantly articulated. Why do we believe that we have to trade in one of these crucial relationships for the others – why are we not ambitious to have it all? Whether we like what the EU is doing or not, it is not going away and our future – whether in or out – will be significantly influenced by what our neighbours do."