An Article written by Conservative MEP Candidate Craig Lawton
In recent months both the new First Minister and the new leader of Plaid Cymru have referred to the UK leaving the EU without a deal as “crashing out.”
Their choice of language follows the exact same pattern that was used by their immediate predecessors.
We regularly hear from Welsh Labour Government Ministers in Cardiff Bay: “If the UK crashes out without a deal…..”
It is clear why the First Minister uses the phrase. At the very least he wants to suggest that there is a lack of control in leaving the EU without a deal, something which is not the case. However, far worse even than this suggestion, the First Minister would rather not see Brexit happen at all.
Labour, and Welsh Labour if there is any real difference, may at times suggest they will “respect the result” of the referendum but then almost immediately that line changes. We need only look to their very public row over the wording of their “draft” EU Election communication to see that they are tearing themselves apart over what they should do and say.
But if we close the Labour/Plaid script book for just a moment is it really appropriate for the First Minister refer to a no deal Brexit as a “crash”?
The fact is that the First Minister and his band of backbenchers could not be further from the truth.
The Conservative UK Government has been working tirelessly to plan for a no deal Brexit. It may not be the Prime Minister’s favoured option, but it is still incorrect for the First Minister to suggest that a no deal Brexit would in some way be uncontrolled and unplanned.
Earlier this year the UK Government’s Department for International Trade announced the temporary tariffs that will come into effect if the UK leaves without a deal.
Under those tariff arrangements, 82% of imports from the European Union would be free from any form of tariff. That is a significant reduction from the current situation in which all imports from the EU are of course tariff free.
The UK Government’s Trade Minister, during the announcement, confirmed that tariffs will be put in place “for the most sensitive industries” to “support British jobs”, “avoid price spikes” and to protect “the poorest households.”
Areas that will see a mix of tariffs and quotas include beef, dairy, pork and poultry to support farmers, and fish to support the fishing industry.
With over 58,000 people in Wales working in the agriculture sector, and with the economic contribution of the industry in Wales being greater than the UK national average, the work done by the UK Conservative Government to protect some meat produce in the event of a no deal Brexit could be crucial for Wales.
While some favour a “No Deal” Brexit and others back the Prime Minister’s Deal for leaving the EU, which has its own protections for farm produce and manufactured goods, it is clear that the UK Conservative Government has taken a great deal of time to make sure that businesses and individuals, both in the UK and those around the world wishing to trade with us, have certainty after we leave.
Compare this to the Labour Party. They have four MEP candidates in Wales who are actively calling for a second referendum while their party is still suggesting it will respect the result of the referendum.
It is clear to see where the uncertainty lies; with the Labour Party.
The Prime Minister and UK Government have been planning for how a post-Brexit UK will operate throughout the world. Compare this to the Labour-run Welsh Government.
In February 2019 the Welsh Labour Environment Minister was asked what direct support she had considered giving to Tata Steel, to help reduce emissions, once state aid rules have changed after Brexit. The response was truly staggering.
“I’m unsure of what support we could be able to give” was the response she gave just three months ago. That was the Welsh Labour Government’s response when discussing how one of Wales’ largest employers could be supported.
While Labour are flapping over Brexit and their hodgepodge approach to it, the UK Government’s planning for a No Deal demonstrates that the Conservatives are the only major party that can deliver Brexit and that are committed to it.