Long fight back

An open letter to Swindon MPs Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson plus other Wiltshire MPs from the newly formed Wiltshire Alliance for Europe, consisting so far of Swindon for Europe, Devizes4E, Salisbury4E and West Wilts4E.

We are demanding a much more realistic and fuller deal with Europe, and announcing our regrouping and the seriousness of our intent for the long fight back to our rightful place at the heart of European culture and politics.

We write on behalf of over two thousand committed supporters in your constituencies. They’re campaigning for a Real Deal. That’s a deal that puts our relations with the European Union on a mutually beneficial footing. It’s also a deal that honours the commitments made by your party in last year’s election campaign. Will you?

Specifically your constituents call for:Today’s high food, labour, and environmental standards, Tariff-free trade to and from Europe,Visa-less travel in Europe, Europe’s education and apprenticeship schemes, European partnerships for research and medicines, A strong United Kingdom.

These elements should form part of any agreement with the EU if the government really wanted to deliver its ambitious oven-ready deal. In fact the Internal Market Bill, allowing the government to break international law, and the Agriculture Bill, threatening the UK’s regimes for food and environmental standards, suggest another option is still alive: flouncing out of the transition period with No Deal. For us this flouts common sense. Why should any of your constituents vote for a party that deliberately throws overboard the advantages listed in our pledge?

In reality only a cabal of deranged nihilists supports the No Deal option. The overwhelming consensus is that No Deal would leave the UK with: No EU agreements on aviation, space, military, or security, No EU agreement for our strong financial services sector, Punitive tariffs with disrupted supplies and increased costs, Chaos and confusion at ports with the conversion of Kent from garden of England to lorry park of the south-east, Enfeebled legislation protecting our health, food, agriculture, environment and safety, he UK’s businesses confronting even greater challenges, Limited rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.

We are in the final days of negotiations with the European Union.

If only because there is now no hope of a fast-track trade deal with the US, it is essential that the government agrees a Real Deal with its EU counterparts. We ask you to lend your strong support.

Brian Davey

Chair South-West Wiltshire for Europe

Rick Page

Chair Salisbury for Europe

Kate Freeman

Chair Devizes for Europe

Steve Rouse

Chair Swindon for Europe

Dr Sam Hollings

Secretary Swindon for Europe

Lord Stoddart

News of the death of Lord David Stoddart former MP for Swindon prompts the memory of the referendum on whether to remain in the EU in 1975.

Part of that memory is of a packed Town Hall with speakers like Michael Foot,Peter Shore and Stoddart himself.

Although the vote then was to remain in Europe I have always felt that for Swindon it was much closer.

Murray Rowlands

By email