The Dangers of a Skeleton Brexit

The government could well be aiming for a Withdrawal Agreement that leaves all contentious issues to be solved only after Brexit, during the transition phase which in the meantime keeps the status quo.

This minimises (temporarily) the risks to the unity of the Conservative party, but maximises the risks to the country.

By securing agreement in principle to a transition during which Britain remains in the customs union, single market and technical agencies, the cliff edge facing businesses and the economy is postponed for 21 months.

Postponed but not sorted. Parliament would be asked to give the green light to Brexit without any guarantee of the terms of our future access to our main export market, landing rights for our airlines, UK participation in the EU’s useful technical agencies, our adherence to EU standards of workers’ and consumer rights or any of the other numerous issues that need to be resolved.

All this would be negotiated after we’ve left, when we would have less leverage than we have now – and with no recourse for our parliament to call a halt if things go wrong or the government doesn’t deliver what was promised.

No doubt there will be soothing words from the prime minister. She will say we shouldn’t worry, that all will be fine, that there’s plenty of time to deal with all of this once we’ve left, and that it’s perfectly safe to leave the EU before knowing what comes next.

Parliament would be invited to buy a pig in a poke. MPs are being asked to write a blank cheque giving full confidence to the government to determine our future in whatever way it wants.

Surely that’s not acceptable to our proud, sovereign parliament?

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  1. The importance of financial services is always pronounced to be the key bargaining power. However it is unrealistic to believe Frankfurt and Paris would allow a third offshore country to effectively hold the EU economy and their own to ransom. If this and other matters are kicked into the long grass then the promises made were false. Notwithstanding the issues raised by vote leave etc. It is up to the Labour party to come clean on the final deal. With Thornberry etc going against Kier Starmer’s position the Labour leadership will too kick it into the long grass. Corbyn will not win the next election as on this issue of national importance he offers nothing different to May. Putting the nation’s future and our children’s children first will do. Corbyn etc. have gone AWOL when it comes to being the opposition. It’s left to the Lib Dems Green and SNP standing alongside labour back benches and the likes of Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry.

  2. I think the main danger is that the Withdrawal Agreement will be clear about the losses for the UK arising from Brexit, but the government will pretend that these losses can be negotiated away during the transition period. “They need us so much more than we need them.”

  3. It totally undermines the hard won principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty. For Parliament to CHOOSE to pool sovereignty with like minded nations is one thing: to leave us with no choice over decisions made is another. Add to that the apparent shenanigans of the Leave Campaign and the short term unity of the Tory Party is bring bought at a high price.

  4. Why slam the door in March 2019 and invite Rees-Mogg’s ‘vassal state’ humiliation throughout the transition period? Why not seek an Article 50 extension to retain the leverage and dignity of equal partnership? Importantly, that would remove the daft expectation for our negotiators to conclude at breakneck speed a blizzard of complex new deals across multiple agendas. Magical thinking has been the lynch pin of Brexit but it will not prevail against the tiresome constraints of reality.

    The parliamentary Leavers fear a kickback as their promises of a golden future unravel before an increasingly nervous UK public, while whistleblowers allege criminal malpractice. For fervent Brexiters, a quick EU decapitation is the best insurance – hence their reckless ’no deal’ enthusiasm – and of course, the known economic impact of a precipitate exit will most affect the people they do not care about: the poorest in our population, least able to defend themselves.

    As with the ‘cancer treatment can wait’ stupidity of leaving Euratom to avoid CJEU oversight, and the macho early triggering of Article 50 minus the ghost of a plan, the transition idea is another example of party political ambition overruling the the national interest. I suppose we should all be used to that by now.

  5. Yes Richard I’m sure you are right. 2m jobs will go as a result of Brexit. Why wont the Labour party, of which I’m a member, stand up for those people who will lose their jobs?

  6. The danger of the “status quo” transition period is that all the inevitable pain of leaving the single market and customs union (and around 750 other treaties) is being postponed until after Brexit is irreversible (notwithstanding rejoining). Which means that when crunch time arrives – a late 2018 vote in Parliament and/or referendum on the final deal – things won’t yet feel so bad, and the political pressure to stop this insanity might, as a result, not yet exist. All part of the Ultras’ diabolical plan to say and do *whatever* it takes to get us across the 29 March 2019 line.

  7. Brexit, whether actual or in name only, is the biggest and most pointless waste of time energy and money since WW1. All based on ignorance and false promises. The emperor is without clothes. Keep shouting it out!

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