Michael Gove: ‘The Facts of Life Say Leave’
Please note the speech starts at approx 23 minutes.
In a keynote speech, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Michael Gove today set out a positive vision for the UK’s future outside the EU. To read the full speech please click here.
Key extracts are below:
‘Since 1975, we have already sent the staggering sum of over half a trillion pounds to Brussels. If we vote stay we will send about another £200 billion to Brussels over the next decade.
‘It is also important to recognise that our rebate is not a permanent and unalterable feature of our membership anchored in the treaties. It’s a negotiated settlement… Once we’ve voted to stay then it will be open season on that sum.
Once we’ve voted to leave we will determine the terms of trade:
‘So the process and pace of change is in our hands. There is no arbitrary deadline which we must meet to secure our future – and indeed no arbitrary existing “model” which we have to accept in order to prosper.
‘It has been argued that the moment Britain votes to leave a process known as “Article 50” is triggered whereby the clock starts ticking and every aspect of any new arrangement with the EU must be concluded within 2 years of that vote being recorded – or else…
‘But there is no requirement for that to occur – quite the opposite. Logically, in the days after a Vote to Leave the Prime Minister would discuss the way ahead with the Cabinet and consult Parliament before taking any significant step.
‘Preliminary, informal, conversations would take place with the EU to explore how best to proceed.
‘It would not be in any nation’s interest artificially to accelerate the process and no responsible government would hit the start button on a two-year legal process without preparing appropriately.
‘Nor would it be in anyone’s interest to hurry parliamentary processes.We can set the pace.
‘We will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which automatically gives EU law legal force. But we can change it on our terms at a time of our choosing. After we establish full legal independence we can then decide which EU-inspired rules and regulations we want to keep, which we want to repeal and which we wish to modify.’
Britain continues in the European free trade zone
‘There is a free trade zone stretching from Iceland to Turkey that all European nations have access to, regardless of whether they are in or out of the euro or EU. After we vote to leave we will stay in this zone. The suggestion that Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and the Ukraine would stay part of this free trade area – and Britain would be on the outside with just Belarus – is as credible as Jean-Claude Juncker joining UKIP.
‘Agreeing to maintain this continental free trade zone is the simple course and emphatically in everyone’s interests.’
We will take back control of immigration
‘We could also benefit economically from control of immigration. At the moment any EU citizen can come to the UK to settle, work, claim benefits and use the NHS. We have no proper control over whether that individual’s presence here is economically beneficial, conducive to the public good or in our national interest. We cannot effectively screen new arrivals for qualifications, extremist connections or past criminality. We have given away control over how we implement the vital 1951 UN Convention on asylum to the European court. We cannot even deport convicted murderers.’
‘Further, there are five more countries – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey – in the queue to join the EU – and the European Commission, as we have just experienced ourselves during the recent negotiation process, regards ‘free movement’ as an inviolable principle of EU membership… And my ambition is not a Utopian ideal – it’s an Australian reality. Instead of a European open-door migration policy we could – if a future Government wanted it – have an Australian points-based migration policy. We could emulate that country’s admirable record of taking in genuine refugees, giving a welcome to hard-working new citizens and building a successful multi-racial society without giving into people-smugglers, illegal migration or subversion of our borders.‘
Better for Europe:
‘Leaving would also bring another significant – and under-appreciated – benefit. It would lead to the reform of the European Union.
‘At different points In campaigners like to argue either that Brexit would lead to EU nations using their massive muscle to punish us, or that Brexit would lead to contagion and the collapse of Europe – just as Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union collapsed following secession from those unions.
‘Manifestly both cannot be true. An EU without the UK cannot simultaneously be a super-charged leviathan bent on revenge and a crumbling Tower of Babel riven by conflict…
‘The UK’s success will send a very different message to the EU’s peoples. They will see that a different Europe is possible. It is possible to regain democratic control of your own country and currency, to trade and co-operate with other EU nations without surrendering fundamental sovereignty to a remote and unelected bureaucracy. And, by following that path, your people are richer, your influence for good greater, your future brighter… Our vote to Leave will liberate and strengthen those voices across the EU calling for a different future – those demanding the devolution of powers back from Brussels and desperate for a progressive alternative…
‘But for Europe, Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of something potentially even more exciting – the democratic liberation of a whole Continent.
‘If we vote to leave we will have – in the words of a former British Prime Minister – saved our country by our exertions and Europe by our example. We will have confirmed that we believe our best days lie ahead, that we believe our children can build a better future, that this country’s instincts and institutions, its people and its principles, are capable not just of making our society freer, fairer and richer but also once more of setting an inspirational example to the world. It is a noble ambition and one I hope this country will unite behind in the weeks to come.’