MEP Rupert Lowe: The EU is truly a gangster state
A West Midlands MEP has branded the EU "a gangster state" as he claimed the economic case for a clean break Brexit was now "stronger than ever".
Rupert Lowe accused the EU of behaving like a cartel by demanding "protection money" from nations it deemed weak.
He accused Brussels of handing out a "punishment beating" to the UK for daring to try and leave and insisted Britain had a bright future away from the bloc.
The UK's shift from an industrial economy to one which is service based means the country will be protected from the worst impact of tariffs on goods once it leaves the EU, he argued.
The former Southampton chairman spoke as EU leaders continued to push back against Boris Johnson's plans for a new Brexit deal before the set leave date of October 31.
In a direct attack on Brussels, he said: "It is highly telling that the EU’s response to Britain’s vote to leave was to promise a punishment beating 'pour encourager les autres'.
"This European project has transformed from a voluntary economic club into a cartel, demanding protection money from those that it views as weaker than itself – truly a gangster state."
Mr Lowe, who is the Brexit Party's parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, added: "It is clear that the business case for Brexit has been stronger than ever."
He said 80 per cent of the UK's economic activity was linked to the delivery of services, which was "largely unaffected" by tariffs but hindered by EU "regulations and hurdles" that cost the British economy billions of pounds a year.
Pointing out that only 14 per cent of UK GDP was linked to exports to the EU, he said: "Is it really worthwhile to force 100 per cent of UK businesses to comply with excessive EU regulations on behalf of the five per cent that do export to the EU, and who would have to oblige with EU standards anyhow?"
He said Remainer claims that the EU delivered “frictionless” trade through removing tariffs and uniform standards failed to stand up to scrutiny.
He noted that the UK’s exports to the rest of the world had grown nearly three times faster than its exports to the EU.
"The cost of accessing this “frictionless” trade is also worth considering," Mr Lowe added. "Had the UK had been outside of the EU in 2018 then tariffs on our exports to the EU (£5–6 billion) would be half the size of our EU membership fee (£10-12 billion – once you have removed the rebate and EU spending in the UK).
"Thus in the event of a clean-break Brexit the government would be able to cover the increased tariffs faced by UK exporters whilst signing trade deals to remove tariffs with the rest of the world."
Mr Lowe warned that "the global economic storm clouds" were gathering, with the future of key European industries in doubt, and that "the next downturn may be but weeks away".
"The EU’s intransigence over Brexit may well be the straw that breaks the global economy’s back," he said.
"Yet free from this protectionist cartel the UK can quickly adapt and react to changing global conditions in a way that the EU has shown it is incapable of doing.
"Britain’s long-term future is bright, the bigger question is whether the EU has one."
'It's not the kind of party I want to lead': Labour contender Jess Phillips calls for return of powers in Sandwell