by Peter Wilding
"And part of this is our “mendacious” Judicial Review of the Government’s position on the EEA. It is our view the Government may be wrong on its view that we leave the EEA automatically when we leave the EU, and this is important for six clear reasons – none of them mendacious as Longworth asserts, all of which demonstrate he has either not listened, or not thought it through, or (most probably) both.
If we have the right to remain in the EEA whilst outside the EU, this prevents the EU using single market access as a “bargaining chip”, and would significantly enhance our negotiating hand because not being “booted out” of the Single Market when we leave the EU means that the “ace” passes from their hand to ours.
If we can stay in the EEA, it will actually speed-up Brexit, not slow it down. Staying-in the EEA means the main bulk of the discussions – how we trade with the EU – can take place after we leave the EU rather than before. The EEA gives us time to breathe. Membership of it also therefore provides a workable transition period which avoids the “cliff-edge” which many fear leaving the single market will cause.
Thinking long-term, and contrary to urban myth, we do not need to leave the EEA in order to live within the “red lines” that the referendum established on the four freedoms. The EEA gives significantly enhanced powers to restrict the four freedoms which the Treaty of Rome does not. Membership of the EEA but being outside the Treaty of Rome means, for example, that we can negotiate quotas on migration.
Whilst people may have a legitimate expectation that we will leave the EEA based on the statements of politicians in the referendum campaign, it is hard to say there is a mandate to leave the EEA arising from the actual vote: the ballot paper mentioned leaving the EU, but not leaving the EEA."