Brexit: Speaker Dinner with Neil Carmichael – 31st May, 2018

With feelings on Brexit mixed within the British Conservatives in Paris, we followed on from Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman’s presentation last year of the case for « leave », with another speaker at our dinner on the 31st May, 2018 in Neil Carmichael, former MP for Stroud (2010 – 2017).

Neil spoke trenchantly in defence of the case for the UK to « remain » within the EU, which he admitted required reform but was not to be blamed for all the problems facing the UK. The country now faced the prospect of becoming poorer and less influential outside this major trading bloc, having prospered during the +40 years or so of EU membership. It was time now for Parliament, which had always maintained its sovereignty on behalf of the British people during this period of membership, to reassert its authority on the final outcome.

On the sensitive question of uncontrolled immigration which had been of concern for many leave voters, immigration from outside the EU had always exceeded that from within the EU over the +40 years or so of EU membership, despite the British government always retaining control of its own immigration policy.

Taking an example from international trade, the Chinese ambassador had been perplexed when told that the UK would now be able to trade more with China after leaving the EU, when to his knowledge Germany an existing EU member was already selling 3 – 4 times as much

On geo-political relations, all US presidents (apart from the current one) had been comfortable having the UK within the EU as a useful and influential channel for communication.

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