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Letters: Leading Brexiteers need to get their stories straight

British Prime Minister Theresa May with members of her cabinet (Photo: PETER NICHOLLS/AFP/Getty Images) - Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Kate Hoey, David Davis, Boris Johnson and that big red bus. Just some of the subjects covered by correspondents in this week’s mailbag.

David Davis’ Vienna speech (it meant nothing to me) seemed to indicate that there would be no bonfire of regulations and standards after Brexit.

Yet this is exactly where people like Jacob Rees-Mogg say our advantage lies. Who is right? It is also very interesting to hear Rees-Mogg saying he does not want a referendum on the final deal because it would open up the possibility of a
no-deal Brexit. He was one of those originally calling for us to walk away without one.

The Brexiteers should get their stories straight rather than making things up as they go along.

Richard, Stoke

Kate Hoey (a Labour MP) is attacking the BBC’s Mash Report about a piece satirising Jacob Rees-Mogg (a Conservative MP). I’m not a fan of deselection or Momentum but in this case, couldn’t they just get on with it?

Henry Bennett

In his speech on Valentine’s Day, Boris Johnson said he did not want another referendum because it would lead to ‘permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal’. Well, I have news for Boris: I, and many others like me, have been feeling like that since his self-obsessed government initiated the referendum of 2016.

Our current course seems to satisfy Mr Johnson’s reckless fantasy for Britain to become the privateer pirate of world trade, flying the flag for a ‘free trade’ that will inevitably see a further reduction in our living standards and accelerate the exodus of capital and jobs to Asia. He is playing fast and loose with our future prosperity.

We already can, and do, trade with any country we choose to in the world. Leaving the EU will not change that.

We could have tightened up access to welfare and benefits for people arriving from the EU at any time during our membership. We do not need to leave to achieve this.

It is clear that Mr Johnson wants a bonfire of the regulations that he thinks hamper British business. What he does not consider is how abandoning these regulations will adversely affect the lives and living standards of people.

Before we joined the EU, the beaches of southern England were a disgraceful mess of seaweed and sewage. Many of our rivers were a toxic soup. That has all changed now. And the list of improvements in working conditions for all of us is long and admirable. All these things are, in my view, assets of civilisation.

Assets on which membership of the EU has helped us focus and improve. What will change, if Boris Johnson has his way, is that there will be a lowering of standards for all of us. That may benefit big business in the short term, but in the long run we are all losers. I know which kind of society I would rather have.

Mark Riminton. Chelwood Gate

Boris’s speech, for those of us who like our classical golden age sci-fi, reminded me of Lord Dorwin in Asimov’s Foundation. Dorwin did not conduct any original research and gave a long-winded and fanciful speech in which everything he said cancelled itself out, meaning that he really said nothing.

Garth Groombridge, Southampton

It seems to me that the only person who will have a job after Britain leaves the EU is the painter having to rewrite the figures on Boris Johnson’s Leave battle bus.

Cai Rutigaliano

Jacob-Rees Mogg tries to whip up emotion about becoming ‘vassals’ in thrall to the EU if we had a soft Brexit. But would you rather be a vassal to relatively sensible laws we helped draw up, or be a vassal to an almost lawless USA under Trump?

Vassal to stringent EU rules on animal hygiene or, as Mr Fox seems to want, vassals to the industrial farms of America? How long would it be before the NHS was forced to accept American companies as its suppliers? Or maybe the NRA would insist on allowing almost any Briton to own guns?

If Mogg was really worried about vassaldom, he’d go for a vassal-free solution – the EU we’re already part of.

Peter Davis, Bath

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines schadenfreude as ‘a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else’. That’s exactly how I feel about UKIP’s recent troubles.

UKIP’s quest for Brexit has reduced the lives of three million EU nationals in Britain to mere bargaining chips. Amidst our everyday lives, we have been bombarded with Home Office paperwork, xenophobic newspaper headlines and gripping distress.

Based on the above, I deserve to feel pleasure at the potential demise of UKIP. Its extinction from Britain’s political scenes will provide me and three million other people with a sense of closure. A sense of closure from the stress, havoc and trouble caused by Brexit so far.

Although nothing can alleviate the pain of Brexit, UKIP’s evaporation into thin air will still be a step in the right direction.

Muhammed Hussain, Sutton

Damian Green, the former minister, has made an interesting intervention on Brexit, criticising leading Tories who ‘won’t accept evidence’.

Mr Green is still a significant figure. He was rightly dismissed from office but he could still command respect on the floor of the House of Commons if he makes a weighty, courageous and honest political intervention.

That is still needed: an important figure, who has been at the heart of this government, breaking ranks to say that Brexit is nothing short of reckless, certainly the hard variety.

But Mr Green would probably not be delivering a Geoffrey Howe moment in such circumstances. We can guess that he is still close to Theresa May, unless she has mishandled their relationship carelessly.

Rather, if he does step up to the plate and warn decisively against the Brexit fantasies of, for example, Jacob Rees-Mogg, he would doubtless be attempting to help May, Rudd, Hammond and others neutralise the unwise and self-serving faction within Cabinet, Messrs Johnson, Gove and the really quite politically-appalling Gavin Williamson.

John Gemmell, Wem

I was amazed to read the letter from David Collins who joined the Labour Party because he wants to stay in the 

I have just left the Labour Party, after voting for them for 50 years, for the same reason; I want to stay in the EU. If Chuka does not take over the leadership – and quickly – I’m joining the surge to the Lib Dems.

I was also gobsmacked at Stephen Dorrell’s conclusion that the Tories ‘are trying to build a programme for our country in which they do not believe’. Yes they do – wholesale deregulation and laughing all the way to the bank.

Susan Chergui, Gwynedd

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