Why we need to leave the single market

Date: Friday 26th May 2017

Sir, Neil Hughes (Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Penrith and the Border) has written (Herald, 20th May) to point out that a hard Brexit obliges us to leave the single market. He considers this type of Brexit to be disastrous.

I worry that he and his party may have misunderstood the issue of tariffs. Of course we should negotiate for tariff-free borders with Europe, and we will most likely succeed because the Germans and the French — who will be the EU’s most powerful nations — sell us far more than we sell them.

Nevertheless, although we do need to negotiate hard about tariffs, Mr. Hughes and the Liberal Democrats are wrong about the single market.

We need to leave this political structure because its strict rules (which are about far more than tariffs) oblige us to abandon all control over our borders with Europe. The pressures from immigration — already a problem for roads, housing, public services and so on — will become unbearable when more countries join the EU, including impoverished Albania, which is already an official candidate.

According to official statistics (always an underestimate) every year we already have a population increase of more than half a million, of which the greater part is caused by immigration. This is an annual equivalent to a city the size of Liverpool.

Although a controlled number of immigrants can bring great benefits to our nation, you don’t have to be a brainbox to realise that an uncontrolled influx of immigrants is totally unsustainable. Yours etc,