LAST week has completely transformed the prospects for Brexit, making a clean break with the EU certain: no more single market; no more customs union; no more supervision by the European Court of Justice; no prospect of separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK; no membership of the European Economic Area (the Norway model). All of these were confirmed by the Prime Minister in her Downing Street Statement of last Friday. And, of course, her Chequers proposals are dead too.

At Salzburg the scales fell from the eyes of Theresa May. When the EU leaders were unanimous about the integrity of the Single Market (and thereby torpedoing the Chequers proposals), they were making it quite clear that full political and economic union was still the aim. And it was that issue that produced a resounding vote in the UK to leave. When European Council President, Donald Tusk, and President Emmanuel Macron of France were bruising and insulting towards the Prime Minister and to voters here, they were confirming that further negotiation would be pointless. In any case why should we wish to remain?

So where does the UK go from here? We adopt World Trade Organisation rules, which the EU cannot reject, nor illegally manipulate, against UK manufacturing, services and agriculture. These rules would involve maximum tariffs of two to four per cent on British manufactured exports to the EU (but 10 per cent on cars). Such tariffs will be absorbed by profit margins and by some sterling devaluation against the euro. But they are easily manageable, and the UK should levy no tariff on imports. The latter would involve no serious losses because, as required by EU rules, 80 per cent of tariff revenues currently must be sent to Brussels anyway.

The tariffs which protect the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), however, are mountainous in comparison. Outside the CAP, British farmers will require income support 'deficiency payments' (as they received before 1973 when we joined the CAP). In return for such support, farmers would have to compete under conditions of free trade and world market prices (as they did before 1973). Prices paid by UK consumers in the supermarket would fall, and EU food producers, cosseted by the CAP, would lose much of their UK market share in dairy produce, meat, vegetables, cereal crops and wine to world-wide producers.

But tariff-free trade solves the Irish border problem. Northern Ireland would prosper under free trade, but would be in the UK on the same basis as Scotland, England and Wales. If the EU wants to put up a tariff border around the Republic of Ireland, well that would be no business of ours. Dublin and Brussels would have to fight that out between themselves.

Richard Mowbray,

14 Ancaster Drive, Glasgow.

WELL done and well said, Theresa May, and not before time.

Dr Joseph Fell,

Barcapel Avenue, Glasgow.

THE Prime Minister has been superb of late, just what we need. By this time, she is in command of the information, the obstacles and can carry this on better than anyone. The European Union has had the ascendency up to now because there are so many of them. They have never played by the rules, never shown a shred of decency; determined to punish us for leaving, as the world knows, to keep others from following. Michel Barnier even changed the wording when told it had offended us. What else had they in mind but to force us back into their sheepfold?

The other night, I read again Kenneth Tynan, theatre critic of genius in a Times letter on July 27, 1971: “A politically and economically unified Western Europe would be a capitalist fortress in which this country would have lost its manoeuvrability and above all its freedom to choose the socialist path.”

I was born one, still am one, but not a Corbynista.

Theresa May has been polite to all, suffered disloyalty in spades and continuous flak from friend and foe alike, but is still in place serving the country. Anyone else would have fled in fear long ago. Weel done Cutty Sark!

William Scott,

23 Argyle Place, Rothesay.

DURING the past 27 months since the Brexit referendum, I have read many contributions from both sides in your Letters Pages.

Both sides make very valid observations, but no-one comes to any firm conclusions about the ultimate impact on the people, simply because no contributor ever seems to present facts or figures to indicate where one might win or lose – they just offer glib comments that seem to adopt party lines.

Those who voted to leave, have not given any evidence to show that we will be better off, or how we will benefit, from leaving.

But those who voted remain are also to blame for the current lack of clarity. No politician of note, has given strong or structured reasons to remain. Indeed, the only people from whom we hear on the subject, are the CBI, the IoD and the BBC, and these are the very organisations that the electorate distrusts the most.

Only one side stands to gain from this lethargy. The rest of us seem to be sleepwalking into what looks like the worst decision in British political history. The EU simply need do nothing between now and March 29, 2019 – we asked to leave, so why should they even bother? Imagine you are a member of a rugby or golf club, and you discover that there is one person getting a much better deal on their membership next year? Would you be happy? The EU has 27 members to placate, and we really do not merit a second thought.

When Article 50 was signed, the Prime Minister stated that by tipping her hand to the EU negotiators, it would leave her fighting with one hand behind her back – and so it has come to pass.

Francis Deigman,

12 Broomlands Way,

Abbeyfield, Erskine.

FURTHER to the correspondence confirming that the UK driving licence may no longer be valid by itself (Letters, September 18, 20 & 21), no one has mentioned the EHIC card which guarantees reciprocal medical treatment in any UK country similar to that which is available in your home country.

At the moment we can avail ourselves of this service if we are tourists. If we work in the EU the EHIC card does not cover our medical treatment, we need separate medical insurance to cover us.

Those who wish to leave the EU, and those of us who are forced to leave the EU, must now arrange their own medical insurance, travel insurance or holiday insurance, which will increase the cost of holidays. Needless to say, this will not affect the “posh boys” who, to quote Laurel and Hardy, got us into another fine mess.

Margaret Forbes,

Corlic Way, Kilmacolm.