Letter to the Editor of The Times,


After a period of drift towards an almost universally unacceptable outcome, it appears that the Cabinet is beginning to exert a proper degree of control over government policy, for which it is constitutionally responsible. We welcome the continued rejection of separate status for Northern Ireland and the inclusion of time restrictions on remaining close to a customs union. We also ask for an end to the lamentable policy making which has led the UK into the current impasse including alarmist forecasting, deceptive statistics, inept diplomacy and poor drafting.

There is more to repair. The Government’s over-prescriptive and misleadingly-named ‘common rule book’ and its unworkable customs arrangement are unacceptable and unnecessary. The rule book goes far beyond any other modern free trade agreement. Without it, lorries can still get quickly through ports, even Dover, using electronic customs clearing, existing technology and trusted-trader arrangements (already dominant in non-EU trade). The politically-motivated demands concerning the Irish border, damagingly inserted into the Withdrawal stage negotiations at the behest of Dublin, must be rejected in favour of a pragmatic approach that Irish customs officials themselves say is possible.

A free-trade agreement with modern light border arrangements will serve our economic needs and safeguard our prosperity. We urge the Cabinet not to permit the continuation of a policy of concession, prevarication and ambiguity that will weaken and humiliate the United Kingdom, threaten its integrity, and undermine its democracy.

Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens, former Vice-President of the Consultative Council of European Judges
Professor Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, University of Oxford
Professor David Blake, Professor of Finance, Cass Business School
Professor David Collins Professor of International Economic Law, The City Law School, University of London
Dr Philip Cunliffe, Senior Lecturer in International Conflict, University of Kent
Mr Alexander Darwall, Jupiter Fund Management
Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Chair of Trustees, University of London
Baroness Deech, former Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford
Professor Robin Dunbar, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
Professor Richard Ekins, Associate Professor in Law, University of Oxford
Dr Graham Gudgin, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Dr Bryn Harris, Barrister and freedom of speech campaigner”
Mr Adrian Hill, former head of Commercial Department, British Embassy, Seoul
Professor Robert Jackson, Professor of International Relations, University of Redlands, California.
Dr David Lane, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Sir Noel Malcolm, Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
Sir Paul Marshall, Marshall Wace
Sir Peter Marshall, former Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
Mr Rory Maw,- Bursar, Magdalen College, Oxford
Mr John Mills, Chairman of JML
Dr Thomas Mills, Lecturer in Diplomatic and International History, Lancaster University
Dr Munira Mirza,arts adviser and writer
Professor Gwythian Prins, Emeritus Research Professor, London School of Economics
Professor Andrew Roberts, historian, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Professor Robert Rowthorn, economist, University of Cambridge
Dr Daniel Robinson, historian, University of Oxford
Dr Nicholas Shrimpton, University of Oxford
Dr Tom Simpson, philosophy of public policy, University of Oxford
Professor Robert Tombs, historian, University of Cambridge
Mr Edmund Truell, co-founder, the Pension SuperFund
Professor Richard Tuck, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Mr Peter Udale, CEO Pembridge Analytics
Professor Michael Vickers, archaeologist, University of Oxford
Dr Joanna Williams, author and commentator
Dr Ian Winter, neuroscientist, University of Cambridge
Sir Andrew Wood, former UK Ambassador to Yugoslavia and to Russia, Associate Fellow, Chatham House

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