It is often said that the Brexit choice is between a deal and no deal. However, the current situation is that “the deal”, as agreed between the EU and the UK last November, is at best only a half a deal – a legally binding withdrawal agreement, plus only a “political declaration” about the future UK-EU trade and security treaty, that has no great legal force. A couple of other clarificatory documents have been tacked on more recently. This is the package that the House of Commons has rejected twice, by overwhelming majorities, and which the prime minister will not bring back unless she has more assured support. We have also seen MPs reject a no-deal Brexit – a position now (probably) accepted by the prime minister. We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras. Subscribe now So we know clearly what most MPs don’t want. And … [Read more...] about Why are MPs debating different trading relationships with the EU when they are not part of May’s Brexit deal?
Brexit canada deal
There are two critiques of the backstop. One is based on reality and the other is based on fantasy. Yesterday's updated deal from Theresa May focuses exclusively the latter and ignores the former. The real concerns are that the backstop will apply unless or until alternative arrangements are found for a frictionless border in Ireland. Those alternative arrangements do not exist, so it follows that we will fall into the backstop and we will stay in it. The fantasy element is based on conspiracy theory. It is that the fiendish Europeans have plotted a trap to keep Britain in a subservient position to the EU by default. This is simply not true, but is an abiding paranoia of the Tory Brexiters and the dominant focus of yesterday's talks. The response to the conspiracy theory takes three forms: There is a 'joint interpretative instrument', a 'joint statement', and a 'unilateral declaration'. The first is a "document of reference" with "legal force and a binding character" - … [Read more...] about No fudge, no unicorns: May’s new deal is total failure
With just over three weeks to go before Brexit day, a smell of urgency is in the air. The UK’s attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, and the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, are back in Brussels on Tuesday. Their mission is to return with a firm “legal add-on” to enable May to tell MPs next week that Cox has changed his legal advice on the Irish backstop and he no longer believes it will “trap” the UK in a customs union with the EU indefinitely, as he averred in November. Before we get to the main developments of the last week, a reminder that producing the Guardian’s independent, in-depth journalism takes time and money. We do it because we believe our perspective matters and it may be yours, too. If you value our Brexit coverage, please become a Guardian supporter. Thank you. If you would like to receive it as a weekly email, please sign up here. And you can catch our monthly Brexit Means … podcast here. Main developments This was the week that the … [Read more...] about Brexit weekly briefing: Cox and Barclay on a mission for May
Nick Herbert 26 February 2019 5:37 PM 26 February 2019 5:37 PM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp The European Union does not want ‘no-deal’. Neither do the majority of people or politicians in the UK. Most of us recognise that to leave without a deal would be potentially damaging to both the UK and the EU, a risk to be avoided. But unless Brexit is stopped altogether the only way to prevent ‘no deal’ is to agree a deal. The date of the UK’s departure may now be delayed, but even a short delay would be controversial enough. And delay will only postpone the choice which, sooner or later, must be made. In one sense a deal is tantalisingly close to being agreed. Despite initially rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement by a substantial majority, the House of Commons has now voted to accept the deal provided that its concern about the Northern Ireland backstop is addressed. The EU is understandably irritated that, after … [Read more...] about The EU must budge on the backstop if it wants to avoid no deal
The Spectator 16 February 2019 9:00 AM 16 February 2019 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp Even the most fervent Brexiteer would have to admit to being impressed at the cohesion and chutzpah of the European Union negotiating team. Michel Barnier talks as if it is the UK that most needs a deal, while the rest of the EU could carry on just as well as before, or better, without one, given that it would be able to attract business and investment away from us. For the EU to concede a trade deal, therefore, would seem to be little more than an act of kindness towards a fallen friend. As a diplomatic bluff, it is strikingly successful. But the economic reality is rather different. A free-trade deal benefits all. But if there were to be no deal, then what would happen? A report by the Halle Institute for Economic Research and the Martin Luther University of Halle–Wittenberg this week sought to explain. Its basic case is that EU exports to … [Read more...] about The EU and UK are one sentence away from a Brexit deal. Why the games?