Yesterday I was one of 40 AMs that backed Paul Davies’ amendment to recognise the importance of EU single market access, rather than membership, and to embrace the opportunities that will come our way because of Brexit.
I am pleased the Conservatives and Labour have joined together to vote against membership of the single market. Plaid’s suggestion that we can remain a member after the referendum to leave the EU is nonsense.
Many of the things people associate with EU membership are actually aspects of being a member of the single market, such as free movement of people, burdensome over-regulation, being precluded from making our own trade deals, all the things the public voted against.
Pretty much any country in the world has access to the single market and is able to trade with it. Only two European countries are blocked from unhindered access to the EU single market – Russia and Belarus – and for political reasons. Nobody would project that the UK would be in a similar position to them post Brexit. It makes absolutely no sense to vote to leave the EU but try to remain in the single market. To many people the two are near synonymous.
The UK is one of only two EU members that sells more to the rest of the world than it does to the EU. However, only 6% of our businesses export to the EU, but if we remain in the single market, 100% of our businesses must abide by 100% of EU regulations.
It is at least reassuring to see those who may have been disappointed by the referendum result in Labour in Wales are, however, recognising that the people have spoken and ensuring that they are returned what they demanded.
Plaid’s approach is shambolic and embarrassing and shows either a complete lack of understanding about the basics of the EU or a willingness to defy democracy and reject the referendum result.