When ministers meet at Chequers this week, they must find a solution to the seemingly intractable question of whether to align or diverge from the EU.
We are likely to get a deal with something for everyone – a ‘softish’ Brexit with May-style immigration controls. But the longer-term offers great opportunities.
If we do, we could reverse at least some of the six per cent hit to GDP it has caused so far. If we don’t, we could continue to lose productivity growth of 0.2 per cent a year.
The Bill is not a vehicle for pursuing policy changes, nor is it about the shape or type of Brexit we deliver. It is about delivering smooth legal continuity.
Ministers need get a grip by acting collectively to agree a Brexit end-state based in reality and on what Parliament will approve eventually – and then stick to it.
If making a final decision seemed too risky for the Prime Minister, her deliberate indecision has now proved even more dangerous.
Even Whitehall’s fiercest advocates of the need to stay as close as possible to the EU recognise that there are risks in being a rule-taker not a rule-maker.
The alarmism of Osborne and others has proved to be baseless – instead, our existing strengths in financial services position us to grow even stronger.
Because Britain and the EU both want to maintain high levels of access to each other’s markets, a bespoke deal is needed: there is no off-the-shelf solution.
That means taking back full control – then using our new-found independence to its greatest possible benefit.
Those who are pro-Brexit and those who oppose it have to negotiate the pitfalls of their own previous positions on red tape.
I understand the Government’s keenness to achieve a free trade agreement with the EU, but we need to be careful that the price is not too high.
The Prime Minister must reach an agreement which lays out clearly in black and white that the UK will not be relegated to the position of ‘rule-taker’.
It is hard to avoid the impression that leaving is being undertaken in a spirit of damage limitation rather than a spirit of opportunity.
Despite public health campaigners coming round to the benefits of e-cigarettes, mixed-messaging is still discouraging people from switching.