Negotiating Independence – a letter from our Chairman

The letter below, written by our Chairman, Edward Spalton, was recently published in the Derby Telegraph.


Like D.G. Betts (30 June), I am keen to be out of the EU and have been since 1972 when I began to discover the ulterior motives and bad faith by the Europeans and by our own government, surrounding our accession to membership.

Negotiations were nearly complete when the EEC (as it then was) suddenly introduced the Common Fisheries Policy, demanding that our waters should become a “common resource” for all member countries to share. Prime Minister Edward heath knew that there was no legal provision in the Rome Treaty for such a policy but went along with it nonetheless. He also misinformed Parliament that British fishermen’s interests would be protected. The result was ecological catastrophe for our seas and fish stocks, economic catastrophe for our fishermen and a massive financial loss to our country’s balance of payments..

This was one reason why Tony Blair wrote in his 1983 election manifesto “We”ll negotiate a withdrawal from the EEC which has drained our natural resources and destroyed jobs”. What a pity he never kept his word!

It is a complex business to right the wrongs of forty four years, so it will require negotiation which take time. Under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, a two year period is allowed. During that time we are still full participating members but we do not sit on both sides of the table during the withdrawal negotiations. We can hardly be buyer and seller at the same time! That is reasonable enough.

Paragraph 4 of Article 50 states “….the member of the European Council or of the Council (of Ministers) representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the Council in the decision concerning it…” That is why our representatives are excluded those meetings – but only from those meetings.

For everything else, we continue full members until (Paragraph 2) “The treaties shall cease to apply from the date of the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification, unless the European Council in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period”.

Almost uniquely this is one EU document which is both short and clear – but the negotiations to get the right deal will be very complex indeed.

Yours faithfully,


Edward Spalton


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  1. Gordon WebsterReply

    I wasn’t aware of Blair’s 1983 Manifesto statement Edward, so thanks for that. I read during the Referendum Campaign, that if you go to the EU Education Centre (I believe it was) and put the translator paddle over Scotland, it will say “Home Of Europe’s Oil,” – I wonder what Ms Sturgeon would say to that. Was it not Herr Schauble who announced “we own Britain.” They believe they do.

  2. Phil JonesReply

    Edward Heath, a Europhile through and through. The recent opening of his personal papers showed him writing to his Continental counterparts that he realized the EEC was the beginning of political integration towards a new federal European country. Too bad that Heath didn’t live long enough to see all of his treachery being undone by Brexit, but at least we are able to watch the agony of both Major and Blair in seeing their efforts of continuing the Heath dream being thwarted. Like behemoths caught in quicksand, screaming into the night in distress and agony, each is seeing his traitorous life’s work being discarded and destroyed! Delicious to watch. I can’t wait for the two years to be up and for the UK to once again be an independent country — ‘country’ in the international sense of the word rather than in the secondary Scottish sense.

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