LETTER TO THE FT

21st July 2017

Sir, We write as one MP supporting Brexit and the other opposing, who are equally aghast at how the UK government is shaping up for our negotiations to leave the EU.

How can it be, a year after the government was formed, that only one meeting has taken place with businessmen and women and the regular follow-up meetings already seem adrift? Likewise, you report “business aghast” at a lack of preparation over Brexit (July 18), and that while 18 Brexit working groups have been set up across ministries there seems to be no co-ordination of their activities.

We are regularly told that Brexit is the biggest event this country has embarked upon since fighting Nazi Germany. Then, the country led by Neville Chamberlain, believed that the war could be won through the existing machinery of government. Rather like this government’s response to the Brexit challenge.

Churchill’s ascendancy to the premiership made winning the war the only objective of government activity. He created a war cabinet to match that determination. We believe a similar political initiative is required today and for the Brexit cabinet to be led by the prime minister, with her deputy left to chair ordinary cabinet.

The Brexit cabinet needs to be in constant session calling for papers, briefings and a range of alternatives that are genuinely open to us to prevent the economy crashing at the end of the Article 50 two-year time limit.

We need to negotiate a safe harbour so that the negotiations can be completed in a way that gives industry total confidence that moves are going to be made over decisions on investment and employment.

Frank Field MP Labour, Birkenhead

Sir Nicholas Soames MP Conservative, Mid Sussex

House of Commons, UK

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