By David Davies MP
A few months after the EU referendum, BBC Wales’ Nick Servini asked me to discuss Brexit with random members of the public in the middle of Ebbw Vale. He probably assumed that in this Labour heartland, a Tory MP in a suit would face a fair degree of animosity. He could not have been more wrong. As Nick will have to admit, the overwhelming majority of people we met said they had voted for Brexit and had no regrets whatsoever. Yet their enthusiasm, shared by so many across Wales, is rarely voiced by a largely pro-EU media desperate to find bad news stories which can be blamed on Brexit or anecdotes of individuals who claim to have “changed their minds”.
I believe there are three main reasons why we voted to leave and why we will be better off outside:
1) We are paying the EU vast sums of money each year which cannot be accounted for. Part of the anger of bureaucrats like Juncker is because there is now going to be a hole in the budget which pays his and his colleagues’ vast salaries and pensions . That money will be spent in all parts of the UK, including Wales, and the government has already repeatedly made this clear.
2) There was concern about the mass illegal immigration taking place in the EU. If we remain members, we will not be able – for long – to refuse taking a share of the millions who have entered Germany at Merkel’s invitation (many of whom want to come to Britain). I am opposed to racism and xenophobia but I do believe that immigration into the UK is too high as it is and do not think we can simply open the door to everyone who wants to come here in the way Germany appears to have done. This was a big concern in Ebbw Vale, although the mainstream media don’t want to discuss it.
3) Finally, we will be better off because decisions which impact Wales will be made in Westminster by elected MPs and not through secret negotiations by commissioners and ministers from across Europe, with MEPs getting a minor look-in. Some of the powers we have clawed back will find their way to the Welsh Assembly, meaning that decisions will be taken even closer to those affected.
Above all else though, this is about democracy. I was on the losing side of the referendum for the Assembly but like all those who voted against it, I totally accepted that it was what people wanted and should therefore have. The Labour AMs who are trying to wreck Brexit should start listening to the people they claim to represent. They should remember that they owe their position to a referendum won on a much smaller margin and turnout. The Plaid Cymru and SNP supporters of Catalonia, claiming the right of nations to break away from ‘empires’, might want to consider their own double standards.
The Brexit result was a clear vote for Wales to leave the EU. Even those who disagreed with this should think about whether they believe in democracy, or whether they believe that readers of the Guardian, the FT and for that matter Golwg, have the right to impose their will on everyone else.
David Davies is Member of Parliament for Monmouth
Categories: Politics Wales