From Mr Bill Emmott.

Sir, Paul Knocker (Letters, November 14) berates Andrew Fraser (Letters, November 7) for using “old mantras” about Britain and the EU. But he replaces them with old fallacies. He says that outside the EU, Britain would be “free to focus on the real future growth markets” in emerging economies. But it already is, strengthened by the EU’s negotiating heft over market access and world trade rules. There are no current obstacles to this “focus” that leaving the EU would remove.

Then Mr Knocker claims that a “free trade agreement” would provide ready access to the European single market. But he is out of date about what single markets mean and what agreements are needed to have access to them. As Norway knows, equal access requires the adoption of EU laws and regulations for all the goods and services covered, which means that outside the EU Britain would have to keep on taking such new laws on to its own statute books, shorn of any say over those laws. So much for the wondrous gain in sovereignty by virtue of leaving.

The truth is that leaving the EU would bring no economic benefits nor many – if any at all – in terms of sovereignty, in exchange for a one-way exit ticket and the freedom to stand alone and fairly small in global negotiations.

Bill Emmott, Dulverton, Somerset, UK

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