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That’s a low blow

To understand the mindset of the EU bureaucrats charged with ‘punishing’ the UK for having the temerity to vote to leave the political construct that is the European Union, one only has to consider the latest incredible edict endorsed by the commission.

A note being added to aid contracts reportedly says: “For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant, and goes on to state that: “If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project.”

The clear message from the EU is that despite receiving funding from the UK to finance aid projects to some of the poorest in the world, the ideological philosophy of Mr Barnier et al would deny UK charities funding and participation in aid contracts should no deal be reached on the UK future relationship with the EU.

For my part, I have to say that I would rather not be part of an organisation which seeks to ‘negotiate’ with a heavy stick and would stoop so low as to ignore UK citizens’ rights for the future and inflict harm on those in need. I feel sure the EU would be very upset if the UK was to simply say that when we leave we will simply close our national wallet and decline to pay another pound into the EU’s pockets.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

A vital step taken

Whichever way people voted in the EU referendum, Leave or Remain, the vast majority now want Parliament to get on with it and make a success of Brexit. With that in mind, it was good to see the EU (Withdrawal) Bill finally pass through Parliament.

This is a vital step in the UK’s preparations to leave the EU, helping to ensure a smooth and orderly exit and paving the way for a deal that protects the economy and promotes our future prosperity.

The Bill received an unprecedented level of scrutiny since it was introduced last July, with more than 250 hours of debate and 1,000 amendments to review.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, the Solicitor General, deserves great credit for the way he helped to guide the Bill through the House in recent weeks.

It was vital that certain amendments were rejected, including those forcing the UK to rejoin the European Economic Area (EEA) and stay in a customs union and those giving Parliament extra powers that would have tied our hands in the negotiations.

I’m looking forward to seeing the government’s white paper on our proposed future relationship with the EU – one which delivers on the referendum vote to get control of our money, borders and laws while building a strong new partnership with our European allies.

Pradeep Bhardwaj, Lords Close, Swindon

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