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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Major Tory donor jumps ship on Brexit

The country would be in a much better place if David Cameron had listened to the likes of Sir Andrew Cook before plunging the UK into a process that could effectively destroy our economy for the next decade.

Sir Andrew Cook is the chair of an engineering firm who has donated more than £1.2m to the Conservative Party. He told The Times the country could "sleepwalk to disaster" if it came out of the single market. According to the BBC he added that at least one of his factories was almost "entirely dependent" on access to it:

He told the newspaper that the "economic arguments of staying in the single market are overwhelming" and it would be a "catastrophe" if the country left.

"It is very difficult to make a political donation to a party when, although I support it ideologically, I do not believe that my interests and my ideology are ad idem with the principal Brexiteers," he said.

Theresa May has insisted that she wants firms to have the "maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the single market".

But the prime minister is due to confirm in a speech later this month that the UK will have two fundamental red lines in its Brexit negotiations - control of its borders and freedom from the European Court of Justice.

It is difficult to see how the UK can stay within the single market if it insists on standing apart from it as far as freedom of movement is concerned. As Sir Andrew Cook said on Radio Four this morning, he employs skilled Polish citizens because they are hard workers but also because the same skill set is not available in sufficient quantity in the UK workforce.

As for the European Court of Justice, that was not even the subject of the referendum. May has no mandate to offer succour to despots by bringing us out of that institition.
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