One such is Ben Habib.
At the tender age of 23, Habib was the youngest finance director of a listed company and was one-time head boy of Rugby. He is founder and CEO of First Property Group plc
The Dame was interested to read his article in the Daily Telegraph.
The Dame likes to hear all sides of the argument....
In the lead up to the EU Referendum in 2016, the Conservative government, at the behest of Prime Minister David Cameron, circulated a twenty-three-page leaflet to every household in the UK.
The leaflet, , mostly set out the case for remaining in the EU, including the many ills that would befall us if we voted to leave. But there were two solemn declarations in that leaflet.
First and foremost, the government undertook to implement the result of the referendum and, second, it declared this to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to vote on the UK’s membership of the EU. That leaflet was a contract with the British people; a contract born out of democracy.
The Conservative Party’s manifesto in the 2017 election re-affirmed the Party’s commitment to the referendum result and stated unequivocally that “no-deal” would be better than a “bad deal”.
So far, so good. The Government had set out its aims and the parameters in which it would operate. It also apparently recognised the importance of keeping no-deal on the table. To maintain this position the Government had to make no-deal a credible option. The only way to do that would have been to prepare for it.
By preparation, I am not only referring to ensuring that trucks be able to drive unimpeded through Dover and our other ports. I am referring to a positive business plan for the UK post a no-deal Brexit; a business plan which should have set out how we would forge forward as a country unshackled by the bureaucracy and regulations of the EU.
The government was obliged, for example, to have a clear vision of which taxes would be changed; how the regulatory environment for the City could be improved; how those industries most affected by Brexit could be supported; free from state funding laws imposed by Brussels the Government should have planned for the wholehearted support of businesses and industries in the North of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; a determined plan should have been made to socially re-engineer the UK to close the wealth gap, to get more people into high-quality work, to make our immigration policy fairer and more suited to our social and economic needs, to improve infrastructure et cetera.
Indeed, the opportunity which a no-deal Brexit presented was nothing less than an opportunity to re-write the rule book for the socioeconomic structures of the UK.
Armed with this exciting plan we would not have needed a deal with the EU and, by making this abundantly clear to Brussels, we most probably would have got a good one. But unlike any decent business, the government did no planning. Its claim that “no-deal would be better than a bad deal” was hollow.
During 2018 I repeatedly put this to various Cabinet Ministers, with increasing exasperation as time slipped away. They either did not appreciate the importance of a proper, positive plan or, worse, they did not care. The government’s utter failure over the last three years has not been just its ineptitude in negotiation, but its total lack of proper planning.
I am a businessman and have negotiated deals all my working life. A good deal may be achieved by deft negotiating, but it is far easier to achieve when you are fully prepared for it to fail.
The Withdrawal Agreement, as drafted would, via the backstop, potentially commit the UK to being bound into the EU in perpetuity without being a member and without any mechanism to exit the treaty.
Even if we were able somehow to avoid the backstop and give effect to the Political Declaration we would find ourselves still largely within the EU.
We would, amongst other things, have to implement its laws to maintain ‘regulatory alignment’ and allow fishermen from the EU free access to our coastal waters (!). The Withdrawal Agreement and associated Political Declaration is a terrible deal.
That the Government should seek to bind the UK in this way is not only a fundamental breach of the contract to which I refer above but an act of gross incompetence. Had the executive on a board of directors presented such a plan, the non-executives would have fired them on the spot.
So, we now find ourselves out of time to leave the EU, with a lame duck government unable to command a majority in Parliament; a Labour Party which is playing party politics with Brexit and a Parliament which has only resolved one issue: to take “no-deal” off the table. In doing so, our political institutions have indicated to the EU that the UK would sign any deal: a declaration of unconditional economic and political surrender – a national humiliation.
The established political class has abandoned its fiduciary obligations to the British people. Politics in the UK is broken, and voters aren’t happy. , where the Conservatives and Labour were punished by the electorate because Theresa May, her government and the House of Commons have all botched Brexit.
I am standing for the Brexit Party in the forthcoming EU Parliamentary elections in order to shine a bright light on the people who got us here. Whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver, if you believe in the country being run competently by a competent executive, please help us change politics for good and vote for the Brexit Party.
Ben Habib is lead MEP Candidate on behalf of the Brexit Party for the London Region and CEO of First Property Group plc