This is for Boris Johnson and the country the moment of truth. As referendum day approached in 2016, I coined a phrase, no deal is better than a bad deal. It was an obvious statement of the truth then and it is crucially important now. Four and a half agonising years of dither and delay needs to come to an abrupt end, there can be no further extensions. The EU’s objectives from day one have been crystal clear.
Their intention was to prevent the UK from becoming a serious economic competitor on their doorstep by tying us up to EU laws.
An early face to face meeting with Michel Barnier confirmed that to me and his team were already drafting the terms of our withdrawal. Mrs May went along with all of this, despite her words to the contrary, and the finished products was rejected by parliament and rightly condemned as a betrayal . But with a few minor adjustments the new PM, Boris Johnson, then signed it.
The oven ready deal was in truth a new binding EU treaty. Within days Michel Barnier was brandishing the leather bound document and telling us in Brussels how proud he was of the new treaty. They had what they wanted, we were trapped and that is their negotiating position to this day. I see no prospect of them deviating.
My greatest concern at the time was that we were promising to stick to EU rules, in effect a level playing field.
This issue has for thirty years been a driving force behind my campaign to leave the EU.
Indeed I said in my first speech in the European Parliament in 1999 the “Level playing field is about as level as the decks of the Titanic after it hit an iceberg”
Tied to EU rules we are not a self-governing democracy, a mere satellite state and we would have no say whatsoever over future laws that impact our businesses.
In the run up to the General Election last year my promise to the Conservatives was that I would withdraw candidates from sitting Tory MPs if Boris Johnson pledged that we would not accept regulatory alignment. He made the pledge, I kept my promise and he won a huge majority.
In a democracy it is the last election that counts not previous agreements. So the choice is simple we either accept the straightjacket of an EU Treaty or we break free with a no deal exit No deal is now the best deal, indeed the only deal that honours the election result, With it we will be an independent self-governing democracy.
That will be a great tribute to all of us that stood up against the political establishment. That includes the Daily Express, the first national newspaper to back leave.