Brexit an opportunity for Britain to define what it stands for, says leading Tory MEP

Written by Martin Banks on 2 October 2018 in News
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UK will be better off as EU’s “good neighbours” rather than “uncommitted tenants”, suggests Syed Kamall.

Photo credit: Press Association


Kamall, who co-chairs the European Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists Group, told the UK Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that Brexit was an “exciting moment in the nation's history.”

"All the things that define us were never dependent on our membership of the EU. We are for free trade, we are for liberalising markets, we are for individual freedom,” he said.

"We are for a relationship with the EU defined no longer by simply transposing EU rules, instead working together where it is in our mutual interest.


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"In the 1970s we joined a European Economic Community sold by the political classes as mostly a trading relationship. Forty years later we leave a European project committed to political union.”

He told the delegates, "I believe that we will be better off as good neighbours rather than uncommitted tenants. I believe that we have always seen a world beyond the EU. And I believe that we will emerge from Brexit with a deal that our nation will make a success of.

Kamall stressed that Brexit was not just a defining moment for Britain, but also for the EU, pointing out that across Europe people were saying "enough is enough" and turning to non-mainstream parties.

Meanwhile, in a speech at the conference on Monday, Liam Fox, the UK’s International Trade Secretary, said Britain will "seize" the chance to strike worldwide trade deals.

"I believe that we will be better off as good neighbours rather than uncommitted tenants. I believe that we have always seen a world beyond the EU. And I believe that we will emerge from Brexit with a deal that our nation will make a success of" Syed Kamall MEP

Fox urged those campaigning to stay in the EU to stop their “shameless bid” to overturn Britain’s plans to leave by trying to "re-fight" the historic 2016 Brexit referendum.

He singled out the British Labour party’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer who has threatened to push for a second vote on the issue.

Fox said: "We need to show confidence and optimism in the future if we are to give the British people the leadership they require.”

Elsewhere, Dominic Raab, the UK minister responsible for Brexit, this week told the EU to "get real" and reach a deal with the UK.

Raab also said EU chiefs had disrespected British prime minister Theresa May with "jibes" at the recent EU summit in Salzburg and said the UK would leave without a deal rather than be "bullied" into signing a "one-sided" arrangement.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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