In reaction to Theresa May's Brexit speech on 2 March 2018 at Mansion House, London, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the European Movement, said:
“There is a gaping hole at the heart of the Prime Minister’s speech today.
“She was at pains to explain the “hard fact” that it is in Britain’s interests to align our regulations and practices with the EU in a wide range of activities and to maintain a close political relationship with our friends in the rest of Europe.
“What she failed to do was set out any rationale for divergence.
“What is the problem to which Brexit is the solution? Why will Britain be better off if we do accept all the “hard facts” she says are unavoidable?
“She says we must accept the “hard fact” that we shall have less access to continental markets than we have now. We must accept the “hard fact” of a border in Ireland. We must accept the “hard fact” that we shall have to continue to pay into the EU budget. We must accept the “hard fact” that European law will continue to apply to many areas of national life.
“The costs are clear. What is the benefit?
“The Prime Minister famously refused to say she would support Brexit if there were another referendum.
“We are being led to a destination which the Prime Minister did not endorse, and for which she has completely failed to make a case.
“That is why the final deal must be put to the people. Only they have the right to gamble our country’s future in such a reckless way.”