Those who campaigned the hardest for Brexit have the biggest obligation to hang around and make it work. The manner in which Brexit unfolded prohibited it from being a binary moment in time. It has been a slow painful process. That process continues and will not end until the UK has truly broken free of the EU’s malign web of regulatory control. We are still a long way away from that point. Indeed, in many respects, the UK is in a more difficult position now than when we were members of the EU.
The Government knows precisely what Brexit should be.
It is perfectly defined on page 5 of the Conservative Party’s manifesto: the delivery of the country out of the EU as one United Kingdom with control of our laws, our borders, our cash and our fish.
These are not just nice to haves, they are imperatives if the UK is to be able to chart its way to prosperity.
The EU is a highly regulated, highly taxed, economic basket case.
If the UK is to have a bright future it must break free – that is why I and so many others voted for Brexit.
Contrary to Project Fear, we knew/ know the UK could and should flourish outside the EU. Within it, we are condemned to managed decline.
But the Government did not deliver on its promises. Indeed it has breached every single one of them.
The country did not leave the EU as one United Kingdom; Northern Ireland has, to a large extent, been left behind. The UK has been partitioned. EU laws still affect not just Northern Ireland but Great Britain as well. Our territorial waters continue to be fished dry. We are locked into regulatory alignment via a level playing field on state aid, competition, employment and environmental laws; signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Arrest Warrant. We even continue to pay into the European Defence Fund.
There have been some immediately obvious huge benefits from leaving the EU, most notably our being able to deliver a World beating vaccination programme.
We were able to do this because, in matters medical, we truly are independent.
Think what else could be achieved if we were also truly independent in other matters.
The primary responsibility for delivering Brexit falls to Boris Johnson. It is his promises which have been observed in the breach. But he will never deliver unless he is held to account.
The Labour Party has no interest in doing so – Starmer is a Europhile and the ERG actively supported the Prime Minister’s lousy Withdrawal and Trade & Cooperation agreements.
It therefore falls to Brexiteers outside Westminster to stand up and fight to save Northern Ireland, rid ourselves once and for all of the EU and to chart a path to success for the UK.
The most obvious people to do this would be from amongst the Brexit Party, of which I was part.
After all we are at least partially responsible for the form of “Brexit” we now have.
It was our standing down in 317 Tory seats that afforded the Conservative Party its thumping election victory. By delivering them into office we are indirectly culpable for the country’s current predicament.
The nation owes a debt of gratitude to Nigel Farage for fighting for Brexit for 20 years. Without him we would still be full members of the EU.
But now is no time for the fight to stop. Indeed we need to double our efforts if the threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom, born out of the Prime Minister’s “Brexit” are to be seen off.
Dropping the batten now, while the UK is so vulnerable, would condemn those of us who campaigned for Brexit as no more than political charlatans.