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Paul Ray, Lichfield Councillor, tells Michael Fabricant to get real on Brexit

January 9, 2019 4:39 PM

(adapted from Lichfield Live)

Paul Ray, Lichfield LibDem councillor, has called on Lichfield and Burntwood MP Michael Fabricant to "get real" over the nation's prospects if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead.

Cllr Paul Ray's comments came after a local newspaper column written by the Conservative MP where he outlined his views around the UK leaving the European Union. He has also written about his take on the situation in a national newspaper. In the Telegraph Mr Fabricant wrote, "It has become apparent that a no-deal Brexit disaster is just not going to happen".

But Cllr Ray said any prospect of a so-called managed no-deal Brexit would not provide a positive outcome for the UK. "What Michael Fabricant actually said was that if we crash out of the EU with no-deal then everything is going to be fine," Cllr Ray said. "Michael and other arch-Brexiteers need to get real and need to listen to leading businesses in our region - Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Toyota and companies in the West Midlands that supply into those companies. No deal will be a catastrophe. I have been round the Toyota site at Burnaston and it does not have any warehousing for the components it uses. Companies like Toyota operate with just-in-time logistics. So delays in getting components and products in and out of the UK will have massive consequences."

Cllr Ray also accused Mr Fabricant of missing key points when analysing the data around Brexit. The Lib Dem councillor said, "He keeps trotting out the argument that we are largest export market for the German automotive industry, but what Michael Fabricant does not tell you is that 44% of our exports go to the EU and 8% of the EU's exports go into the UK. It's a simple statistic that shows that we are much more reliant on EU trade than vice versa."

Cllr Ray also insisted it was essential the UK's stance did not undo the work of decades of negotiations. "Michael also demonstrates such a lack of understanding what the EU means to our partners on the continent," he said. "Millions and millions of Germans, French, Italians and others have died in truly awful conflicts over recent centuries. Those wounds run very deep and our European neighbours have a total commitment to bind the countries in Europe together by creating a trading bloc. That is a fantastic principle - if people have a common goal of trading together and building their economies for the good of their populations they come closer together. That is a fundamental point which so many leavers just do not get."

Cllr Ray said it was essential that the people of the UK had a say on the terms of any exit from the EU. "The coming weeks in Parliament will be so significant for the future of our country. Whatever happens, MPs like Michael Fabricant must not let us leave the EU without a deal. The situation we are facing is clear. Parliament and the country is divided. Business is saying we have to have a Brexit that keeps trade flowing smoothly. So we need to extend Article 50 and let the people have a final say in a People's Vote.

I urge Michael Fabricant and similarly minded MPs to drop their obsessive anti-EU ideology and do the right thing for our country."