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Umunna challenges May to answer Brexit questions

Chuka Umunna, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, has today [Sunday] written to the Prime Minister posing eleven questions on Brexit he believes she doesn’t want to answer.

In his letter, Mr Umunna says that Theresa May’s election appearances are “designed to avoid examination of your Brexit strategy, which is built on adopting the lies of the Vote Leave campaign and perpetuating the delusion that Brexit is cost-free.”

He condemns the Prime Minister for wanting to “subvert scrutiny” on this issue, despite billing the June 8th vote as a “Brexit election”.

In the letter, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“You are doing our democracy a disservice by shutting down debate on the most important political issue of our time.

“Your government has promised to deliver “the exact same benefits” outside the Single Market and Customs Union, but Europe has already made clear this is not on offer. And by opting to leave the Single Market you have replaced the best Brexit option with a series of red lines that make even securing a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement less likely.

“It is time that you start to justify your position, answer some clear questions and demonstrate that your Brexit plan is not a danger to our economy.”

/ends

Notes to editors:

Full text of the letter from Chuka Umunna MP to Theresa May:

Dear Prime Minister,

You have called a Brexit election. This declaration appears superficially confident, but in fact reveals a fear that your Brexit strategy will unravel.

You have sought a contest before the implications of your decision to leave the Single Market and Customs Union start to hit people in their pockets.

You also want to subvert scrutiny. Stage-managed events and low-key media appearances are designed to avoid examination of your Brexit strategy, which is built on adopting the lies of the Vote Leave campaign and perpetuating the delusion that Brexit is cost-free.

This is, I believe, why you are running scared of TV debates. You are doing our democracy a disservice by shutting down debate on the most important political issue of our time.

Your government has promised to deliver “the exact same benefits” outside the Single Market and Customs Union, but Europe has already made clear this is not on offer. And by opting to leave the Single Market you have replaced the best Brexit option with a series of red lines that make even securing a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement less likely.

It is time that you start to justify your position, answer some clear questions and demonstrate that your Brexit plan is not a danger to our economy. Below I have posed eleven simple questions I believe you have a democratic duty to answer.

If you are confident in your position, you will answer these questions in full. If you evade clear answers, you will confirm that you are hiding the true implications of your plan.

Best wishes,

Chuka Umunna

The questions Theresa May must answer:

  1. Will the United Kingdom be outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, have ended free movement of people, and no longer be making payments to the EU budget by March 2019?
  2.  If there is a transition period between exit in March 2019 and full ratification of the new UK-EU FTA, will the UK remain within the Single Market and the Customs Union for the duration of this period, or will our terms of trade with the EU be weaker from this point onwards? 
  3. Do you stand by David Davis’ commitment that the UK’s Brexit deal will deliver the “exact same benefits” as we have now in the Single Market?
  4. Do you accept that Angela Merkel is right when she says that if the UK leaves the Single Market the only option is an FTA where Britain is treated as a “third country”, and that it is an “illusion” that this will deliver the same trade benefits?
  5. Does the Government intend for Parliament to be able to recommend that negotiations be extended if there is no majority for the draft Brexit deal in 2018/19, or is the plan to present Parliament with a choice between accepting the deal or leaving with no deal and a WTO cliff edge?
  6. The Government has said it wants to enhance security co-operation with the EU. Does the Government accept that opting in to Justice and Home Affairs measures as a non-Member State, for example the European Arrest Warrant, means accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice? 
  7. Does the Government accept that its stance means the UK will move from rule-maker to rule-taker, as a comprehensive FTA will mean accepting EU legislation in the fields of environment, social affairs, financial services and competition on an ongoing basis, without input into decision-making?
  8. How long after Brexit will the Government sign its first trade deal with another country, and can it be demonstrated that the gains from new trade deals will outweigh any costs of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union?
  9. Can the Government guarantee that, while ending the free movement of people and leaving the Customs Union, there will be no changes to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
  10. Do you agree that open trade and migration are inextricably linked – as shown by the Indian Government’s demand for visa liberalisation to be part of any trade deal. If so, how will you be a champion of open trade and meet your ‘tens of thousands’ migration target?
  11. If Brexit were conclusively and categorically shown to be harmful to the economy, would you consider giving the British people a say on whether they still want to go through with it? 



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