The form of words in the question was drawn from the Leave means Leave letter which preceded the recent EU summit, and which was signed by Nigel Lawson, Peter Lilley, John Redwood and Owen Paterson, among others.
Some will say that a formal declaration assuming that we will be subject to WTO rules from the date of Brexit is not the same as halting the negotiation.
However, that is clearly not the view of Leave means Leave, which opened its press release announcing the letter with the statement: “Prime Minister urged to abandon EU negotiations if no progress on future relationship made at this week’s European Council”.
The organisation’s reasoning was presumably that such an announcement would be a clear signal of intent, and would effectively bring the talks to a halt. We agree.
A previous survey found that 59 per cent of respondents want Britain to leave ECJ jurisdiction as soon as Brexit takes place, and 89 per cent declared in a later one that they want us to the freedom to negotiate and sign trade deals from the same point.
Those who believe that the priority of Party members is to reduce immigration as soon as possible should think again. 38 per cent said in that earlier survey it must start to come down in any transition period, and 33 took a different view.
None the less, Party member opinion on the Brexit negotiations is, to put it very crudely, clearly at the harder end of the spectrum on independence and economics, and it is sobering that half those sampled are prepared to take the WTO route already.