My response to Theresa May’s last-minute Brexit deal

Theresa May has finally been able to convince (most of) her cabinet that Brexit requires reaching a deal with the European Union on the Withdrawal Agreement, but this is a bad deal for Britain for many reasons.

First, the deal offers no clarity on the future relationship on which a five page document offers only a to-do list with woolly language hedged with caveats: a “blindfold Brexit” that would leave the negotiation on the key issues until after we’ve left, when the UK will have a weaker negotiating position. This means there is no guarantee that we will be able to use tools such as Europol, the European Air Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency, the European Arrest Warrant, or participate in research programmes or student exchanges.

Second, the Government wants the UK to leave the Customs Union as soon as possible. It envisages staying in the Customs Union if there is no agreed trade deal with the EU by 2020, but  only for a temporary period. Leaving the Customs Union would be a disaster for agriculture, manufacturing, services and fisheries exports and for  all those whose supply chains depend upon imports.

Furthermore, the UK would then drop out of the EU’s existing trade agreements and arrangements, which it has with dozens of countries worldwide. Both UK goods, and EU products made with UK parts, might then no longer meet strict rules of origin standards set out in such trade deals, meaning that many UK goods and some EU goods would no longer qualify for preferential low tariffs elsewhere.

Third, the deal doesn’t entirely protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. For example, the right of onward movement for UK citizens living in EU countries hasn’t been resolved. Currently, a British citizen who lives in France is allowed to move to Spain thanks to EU citizenship. This would cease to apply if we leave the EU.

In conclusion, this Brexit deal heads in the wrong direction on the economy and leaves many other issues unresolved. It bears no resemblance to what was promised during the referendum campaign in 2016.

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13 Comments

  1. Indeed. But the main question is now : will Labour vote against the deal in parliament and will it promote a referendum with a simple triple choice :

    – do you accept the deal (ie leave with the deal) ?

    – do you refuse the deal (ie leave with no-deal) ?

    – do you refuse brexit (ie cancel leave) ?

  2. What about out of EU, but within Customs Union and Single Market, ie Norway?

    The problem with questions 1 and 2 above is that they leave us in a much worse position than now. Maybe it is better to follow Blair and go with:
    Do you wish to continue with brexit?
    – yes
    – no

    Asking this question after parliament has made a decision could change the result. Perhaps it would be best if PArliamane tknew that such a question would be asked after it decided.

  3. Labour should give full backing to the People’s Vote. Any Brexit would be a bad Brexit and damaging to our national interests.

  4. So, why isn’t Labour doing something? what chance will we have to comment electorally on the ‘deal’? you seem so intent on having a general election.
    I would like a vote on the deal instead, including the ‘remain’ option on the ballot paper.

  5. Very clear about Labour’s position from this. Why do the media seem to find it so challenging? I don’t know how many comments I’ve heard about Labour being impenetrably vague. The deal will be a disaster, that’s for sure. I’m also fairly pessimistic about the likelihood of it going through parliament, all the ‘drama’ notwithstanding. It was reported today that some of the brexiteers are just looking for ways to support it and save face.

    In the end, how much of the last year has been about Tory face-saving, I wonder?

    • If do have a third referendum, its just 2 questions as we have already voted to leave.
      1. Accept deal.
      2. Don’t accept deal.

  6. It is now blindingly obvious that the British people were lied to (possibly with the assistance of foreign money). Brexit could not be arranged “over a cup of tea in an afternoon”. We did not and do not, as one country against a bloc of 27, “hold all the cards”. Whatever future relationship we have with the EU will be less advantageous than our current relationship (obviously), and as for trade deals with non-EU countries, get used to the idea of compulsory chlorinated chicken and GM everything. Or else.

    No-one voted for the May proposals, as they did not exist and could not have been predicted (in any detail) at the time of the referendum. And no-one voted to be poorer, as we certainly will be under the May proposals or no deal and WTO.

    Consequently, it is my firm belief that Labour MEPs, MPs, etc should, at the very least, push for a second referendum, or, preferably, stop Brexit in its tracks.

    And just for the record, and to confound some extremely unhelpful stereotypes, I am a 71 year old pensioner living in one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

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