Parliament needs to work sensibly to implement the wishes of the UK electorate. We cannot put everything on hold until Mr Cameron has gone and his replacement is in post.
Remain voters are understandably apprehensive and wish to see everything done to minimise disruption and to reassure markets, companies and investors. So do I wish to see that.
The main items which Leave voters wanted can be summarised as
- UK control over new law making and over our courts
- Cancellation of our EU contributions, with more spending on the NHS and repeal of VAT on fuel out of the cancelled contributions we do not get back
- A new fair system of immigration control, delivering lower overall numbers
- Replacement of lost EU spending by UK spending paid for out of saved contributions we do get back
- Maintenance of trade, tourism and other regular contacts through negotiation of the best deal for future relations
Next week Parliament will need to push the government to provide more information upon how these objectives can be secured. Many are within UK power regardless of the views of our partners. It is a UK government matter to prepare legislation to repeal VAT and to change the migration system. It is within the power of the Treasury to spend more on UK priorities and on replacing lost EU grants.
There are issues over future trade and investment arrangements which require both sides to agree any changes. The UK has no proposals for changes to current trade and business arrangements. We need to discuss with the others what if any they would like us to accept. Starting these talks does not require a new PM, merely a committed negotiating team which the current PM could appoint.
There is a legal issue over our right to break EU law on VAT and stopping contributions. Some say we can only do that if we submit to the process of the Treaties under Article 50. Others say we can do that by amending the 1972 European Communities Act ourselves. After all the UK voters voted to reject the Treaties and to re establish UK control. That is the debate we need to have at an early opportunity in parliament. Draft legislation is already prepared to take back control, but it will need government support to carry. The legislation includes transferring into UK law all current EU laws. the UK should not seek to vary trade and business laws and arrangements without agreement and should uphold them until both sides agree any changes. This will also reassure those who want the full range of EU employment rights to remain as good UK law.