The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Address to the Bruges Group by the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP to mark the 30th Anniversary of Margaret Thatcher`s Bruges Speech

It is a tremendous privilege to be able to address the Bruges Group today.

Your work over the years has done so much to ensure that the Brexit vote happened, giving us the opportunity today to build better future outside the European Union.

So I want to pay tribute to everyone at the Bruges Group, your fantastic supporters and also your founders.

I have been around long enough to recall the reason as to why the Bruges Group was established along with the significance of the Group's work and advocacy.

Your staunch and robust campaigning against the undermining of our democracy and loss of our country to Brussels has helped us to make history.

For years, those of us who have been critical of Europe's power grab and the establishment who signed away our country's freedoms and democracy have been marginalised by those in power.

They sought to stop our voices being heard.

But our tenacity, the strength of the Bruges Group and the campaigning zeal of others who share our views have shown that it is us who are in tune with the British people.

And we have led a democratic revolution to take back control of our laws, our borders and our money.

Lady Thatcher:

Just think, eleven days ago we marked the thirtieth anniversary of that famous speech from the great Lady Thatcher.

Back then, she foresaw the future and warned Europe against further integration and federalism.

She famously said,

We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.

Those words still make the hairs stand up on back of my neck. She also warned that,


…to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging…

And that,

…working more closely together does not require power to be centralised in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy.

If only the establishment had listened! Imagine the difference if her vision for reform, democracy and free markets had been delivered!

But the establishment squandered the opportunity to democratise the EU.

And, instead of heeding her warnings, they pursued and continue to press for their vision of a federal Europe, turning out the lights on sovereignty across Member States.

How we got here:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

Thirty years on, look how far we have come.

We've had successive European Treaties take powers from our people. Maastricht,

Amsterdam, Nice,

And Lisbon.

And at every turn, the establishment has sought to subvert democracy in Britain and across Europe.

Isn't it ironic that the very people who denied the British people a Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty,

Who broke their promises to the people,

Are now amongst the strongest voices calling for a second Referendum and so-called Peoples' Vote.

The BBC, Guardian, and the rest of the Remain-supporting left wing media may shamelessly promote the likes of Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell, who want another vote.

And may give them far more credibility and airtime than they deserve.


But the British people – those who voted to Leave the EU and many who voted to Remain – have seen through their spin.

And they will not stand for it.

For that patronising, self-righteous, arrogant, 'I know best' attitude is one of the key reasons why 17.4 million people rose up two years ago in the greatest show of democracy in our history and said 'No'.

'No' to Brussels making our laws. 'No' to Brussels taking our money.

'No' to Brussels controlling our borders.

And 'No' to the establishment that for over forty years has sold our country out. Delivering Brexit:

Friends,

The British people have seen through the lies, spin and scaremongering, And we now stand at a fork in the road of our nation's future.

The choice before our country is a clear one. We can fulfil the result of the Referendum,

The clear mandate given by the British people in the Referendum and last year's General Election,

And head down the road towards reclaiming in full our freedom, democracy, independence and sovereignty.

Or we can allow the naysayers, the doom-mongers and the establishment to force our country down the wrong road.

Down the road that surrenders our country back to control by the EU.

Let us be clear and unequivocal,

Any deal that amounts to letting Brussels dictate rules and laws to our country, Any deal that prevents us taking back control and being sovereign,

And any deal that looks like Chequers or the options proposed by the EU, Would be a deal that stands in defiance of democracy.


We only need to look at the future direction the EU-27 is taking and the demands placed on them by the Commission to know how right we were to fight to Leave and to win the Referendum.

Juncker:

Anyone who listened to Jean-Claude Juncker's State of the Union Address last month will know that the EU has made no effort to hide their ambitions to further undermine the nation-state and national governance.

He promoted Europe-wide transnational lists for elections. Said that "to love your country is to love Europe."

And has called for more "European Sovereignty."

A whole section of his address – titled "The hour of European Sovereignty" – was dedicated to this aim: to erode national democracy.

He spoke of planting "the seeds of a more sovereign Europe."

Of Europe becoming "a more sovereign actor in international relations." And that: "the time for European sovereignty has come."

If anyone believes that the British people are changing their minds on Brexit and want to remain then they are deluded.

Because I believe that, as the British people see more of what Europe is becoming,and the way they are behaving in these negotiations,

The more they will feel reassured that they made the right decision in 2016. Let me be clear,

Juncker's "hour of European Sovereignty" is not the right vision for the European Union.

This proud nation is right not to want a part in it.

Brexit Deal and Winning Brexit:

Friends,

Those campaigning to keep the EU involved in our affairs are signing up to plans which let Brussels continue to erode our sovereignty.

And just because we won the Referendum,

It does not mean that we have yet won Brexit.


And we know why.

Because too many people who are supposed to be negotiating on our side lack belief in this country.

Because of the deniers of democracy and those who simply are not prepared to believe in Britain and our prospects after we have left the EU.

We stand at a moment of change in our country, where senior politicians in Government have to make real choices about our future direction.

They can no longer sit on the political fence in silence, while claiming to be pro Brexit, with nothing but inaction to their name.

Their legacies, including their failures to stand up for Brexit, and their judgements will be remembered for generations to come.

The Chequers proposals, which the Government remains fully behind, are simply far too generous to the EU,

And any deal agreed now based on a compromise would be even worse.

We saw last week at Salzburg that the EU is hell-bent on mocking, humiliating and bullying us.

In what world do serious political leaders mock their counterparts on Instagram? And insult a nation by accusing 17.4 million people of being liars.

Monsieur President Macron,I say this to you: Instead of firing insults at the British people,

Focus on sorting out the shameful 20% rate of youth unemployment in your country.

I know that the British people, the men and women of this proud nation - a country that has gone to war to defend the freedoms and liberties of all on the Continent -

will not want Britain cower or cave in to EU demands.

So, all of us who believe in Britain and believe in Brexit must now step forward, and show the British people, who voted to take back control, the leadership needed to deliver the prosperous, successful and free future they demand of us.


Our Vision of Brexit:

While there are some, even in the Conservative and Unionist Party, who are at this very moment using the uncertainty over the Brexit which they are creating, to talk down our country,

We must rise above their regressive arguments and Project Fear, And put forward our vision for Britain's future.

First, let us be clear that Britain is a strong and resilient country. We will be successful outside EU control.

Politicians must start to trust the people and democracy in this country. If we fail to do so, it will lead to a crisis in democracy and collapse in support for the Conservative Party.

And upon that belief in our country and trust in our people,

We can make the most of our independence, freedom and sovereignty.

Because it is when we trust in those very strengths – independence, freedom, sovereignty - that this country is at its greatest.

Second, we must promote Brexit as a great liberating moment for our country.

The opportunity it gives us to open up new trading partnerships with the rest of the world, break down barriers to trade, provide our businesses with more markets to export to and keep prices down is one we must seize.

Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union and being clear of the Chequers proposed Common Rule Book means we can be free of harmful Continental protectionism.

Consider this fact:

Our biggest trading partner today is not any European country,

But the USA, to whom we export £100 billion of goods and services too.

Just think how much more transatlantic trade we could do if we could be the authors of our own trade deal with the USA!

And just think of the great global opportunities that await us in emerging and developing markets.

Thirty years ago – around the time of Lady Thatcher's Bruges Speech – the EU accounted for around 30% of the global economy.

Now the figure is close to half that amount.


And by the middle of the century less than 10% of the global economy will be in the EU. Most global growth will be in markets in Asia, India, and Africa.

So why would anyone want to chain themselves to a sinking monolith when we could be at the centre of a global network of free trade deals and investment partnerships?

And as for the EU,

Of course it is important that we have a good, positive trading partnership with our friends and neighbours,

And that is why we have been advocating a Canada-plus model free trade deal.

But we should not sign up to a deal that leaves us as a second rate junior partner in servitude to Brussels.

If a deal that is in our national interests cannot be agreed,

And if the Government and the EU, in their stubbornness to listen to anything we Brexiteers advocate, reject Canada-plus,

Then a departure on WTO terms is still a far better proposition for Britain than Chequers. Thirdly, we need to be clear that 'no deal' means 'no cash.'

So let's take the £40 billion divorce settlement off the table.

I am sure we all agree that the amount was far too high in the first place.

And now we are wondering why on earth would we pay this colossal sum to an organisation that insults us, calls us 'liars' and is trying to bully us into submission!

The EU has spurned the Government's generous overtures already.

So let's remind them which side in this negotiation has actually put the cake on the table – and which side can take it away.

Let's take a course of action which they will feel - by closing the chequebook.

Our hardworking taxpayers deserve better than to carry on bank-rolling an institution that shows us nothing but contempt.

Fourth, over the next six months we must prepare our country for 'no deal'

That means getting our economy ready by turbo-charging a revolution in economic liberalism.

As a free, intendent and sovereign country we will have the room to manoeuvre on the global stage.

We can open up new trade routes and investment partnerships on a global scale.


Promote more free trade that keeps prices down, creates jobs and delivers prosperity. Reform our tax and regulatory environment to be more competitive and attractive.

And invest in key infrastructure and skills to boost productivity.

Instead of bank-rolling bureaucratic schemes on regional development, social funding, agriculture and fisheries,

We can press ahead with establishing our own schemes that genuinely serve our national interests and help communities and businesses to thrive.

Conclusion

Friends,

I have every faith and confidence in our country. The indomitable spirit of the British people,

Our ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

And our strong resolve to overcome any challenge that we face. Those who want to defy democracy and undermine Brexit, Under-estimate the British people.

In these crucial weeks and months ahead, We must stand up for our country,

Defend the democratic decision the British people made, And make sure that, having won the Referendum,

We now win Brexit,

And win back control over our great country!

Addressing the Revolutions
We Wish Europe Well
 

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Saturday, 20 October 2018