Stratford4Europe members Jonathan Baker and George Longstaff secured an exclusive meeting with local MEP (and Conservative) Daniel Dalton. The following report is not a transcript but notes from that meeting as Daniel responded to set questions from Stratford4Europe.
Brexit and its likely outcome
Daniel voted to Remain and still feels this would have been the best outcome from the referendum in June 2016. He feels that the best deal we can hope to ever achieve with the EU is the one we have now. Although it is technically possible for Article 50 to be revoked, he thinks that we would never be able to get back to the advantageous relationship we had with the EU prior to the referendum
He is now fairly sanguine about the need to ‘make the best of the mess we have got’ and he thinks we will end up with a deal very close to what we have now, namely, we will have an ‘associate’ membership of the single market, like Switzerland and the Ukraine, which ironically will have to be significantly more complex than what we have now and that we will be in a situation where we are bound by EU rules but have no influence over them!
He thinks that there will certainly be a transition period and that it could be a lot longer than that suggested by Messrs Hammond and Fox. He can foresee a situation where it drags on for quite a number of years and may even reach a stage where the then transitional status is adopted as conclusive
Concerns about loss of EU protections
Daniel acknowledges that there are concerns that Brexit could lead to a lowering of such things as employment protection rights, environmental standards etc but he thinks that such concerns will prove to be unfounded as he believes there is no political will to bring this about and that it would be electorally unsustainable.
The cost of Brexit
Daniel has no idea how much this will cost but suggested the figure will be masked behind a plethora of other details. He thinks that, despite some conflicting comments to the contrary, there is an acceptance that the UK will have to pay its “divorce” bill. However if this cost was spread over an extended transition period it might be more acceptable to the Tory Eurosceptics.
Daniel thinks immigration will continue as it is a necessary part of a successful economy but that there may have to be restrictions on only allowing in those with jobs. He thinks that it is possible that the EU will accept a situation where the UK has control over immigration in that immigrants will need a visa to come to live and work in the UK but that the UK commits to granting a visa automatically to any EU citizen who has a genuine job offer in the UK.
New trade deals
Daniel believes that the UK’s standing on the world’s stage is high even if we leave the EU and that the size of the UK’s economy makes it an attractive market for other countries. He thinks establishing new trade deals is the priority once we have left the EU and thinks other countries, especially the USA, will be eager to have a share of the UK market. His positive view on this is based, in part, on work he has been doing for the EU commission.
Post Brexit investment
Daniel feels that there will be a need post Brexit for the UK to attract significant worldwide inwards investment, in part to offset the damage to the economy that Brexit will cause. This inwards investment should be encouraged by a lowering of taxes generally and Corporation Tax in particular. He believes that the UK’s tax levels are too high and a hindrance to enterprise and economic growth. He did not subscribe to the ”low tax, low regulation” model for a post Brexit economy, however.
Status of EU nationals post Brexit
He supports giving EU citizens the right to remain in the UK and on a personal level he has a particular interest in this situation as his wife is German. When asked if he could foresee a situation whereby Brexit didn’t happen he said yes, especially as time was running out for the negotiations.
Read more about Daniel Dalton and his work as an MEP here.