Diss High alumnus petitions for UK to retain EU free trade and movement

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A Diss High School alumnus petitioning for the Brexit deal to maintain free trade and movement believes both sides must work seriously towards “some sort of compromise”.

Politics activist James Baillie, 22, a Diss sixth-form graduate from South Lopham, began a petition last week calling for Parliament to retain the ‘Three Freedoms’ after leaving the European Union.

The petition, currently with 231 signatures, outlines these freedoms as access to the single market, academic collaboration and the right to live and work in EU countries.

Mr Baillie, who voted for Remain in the EU referendum, which gave victory to the Leave side, told the Diss Express: “Clearly, we accept the outcome on the ballot paper.

“I don’t think that means, particularly from how divided the country has become over it, that you can just ignore 48 per cent of the country.

“To work out where we go from here needs everyone to be talking about it.”

The free movement of people has remained one of the hot topics since the vote last month, with David Davis, the ‘Brexit Secretary’ under new Prime Minister Theresa May, stating Britain would seek continued tariff-free access to the single market without budging on demands about levels of immigration.

But Mr Baillie says he feels politicians are making portrayals of what will happen that do not fit the positions of other EU nations, and he claimed being in the single market without free movement was “almost certainly not going to happen”.

He argued: “The majority of immigration is not from the EU.

“One of the things I think Remain didn’t get across well enough is that actually removing free movement does not necessarily mean greatly lowered migration.”

Mr Baillie added that he planned to spread his petition around on social media, and was keen to hear the thoughts of Leave and Remain voters on his suggestions, explaining he knew many people personally on either side of the debate.

He encouraged anybody who is interested to get in contact via his blog by visiting https://thoughtsofprogress.wordpress.com

To view the petition, go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/136833