'Forgotten' Brexit deal still best option for rural Wales says FUW
The option of leaving the EU while staying within the single market and the customs union should not be forgotten, and is the best way to respect the referendum outcome while preventing damage to our economy and rural communities, the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) has told a conference on the future of rural Wales.
Addressing the Welsh Local Government Association's Sustainable Rural Communities Post 2020 event, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: "We are told there is a deal on the table – Theresa May’s Brexit deal – and that we have a choice between this, a new deal if one is reached, and a no-deal Brexit.
"But there is another deal on the table which was advocated by the FUW shortly after the referendum and has been referred to repeatedly by EU politicians as their preferred option:
"That is the option to honour the referendum - by leaving the EU - but to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union in order to prevent immense damage to our economy and in particular to our rural communities."
Speaking after the event, Mr Roberts said that while some interpreted the referendum as a mandate to leave the customs union and single market, he believed that such an interpretation was spurious.
"Under no circumstances can it be claimed that the majority voted in favour of the extreme damage of a no-deal Brexit. Quite the contrary, between those who voted against leaving the EU and those who believed they were voting for softer forms of Brexit, I believe there is a clear majority in favour of maintaining a close relationship with the affluent EU market on which hundreds of thousands of our businesses rely."
Mr Roberts said that politicians who accused those who want to come out of the EU with a deal and over a sensible timetable of blocking Brexit were misleading the general public and deliberately fueling divisions within society.
"We have accepted the need to honor the referendum, so it is wholly disingenuous and deliberately divisive to accuse us of betraying the outcome of a referendum by wanting to avoid a reckless Brexit with disastrous implications which would resonate down the generations," he added.
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