“NO UK PRIME MINISTER COULD EVER AGREE TO IT”
Theresa May, 28 February, 2018
On Wednesday, 28 February, the EU published its Draft Withdrawal Agreement.
This draft contained a highly explosive section on Northern Ireland, now known as the ‘back-stop solution’, which would see Northern Ireland tied into the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union – and therefore into the EU itself – after Brexit.
At Prime Minister’s Questions that same day, here is what the Prime Minister, Theresa May, had to say about the ‘back-stop solution’:
“The Honourable Gentleman is right: the draft legal text that the Commission has published would, if implemented, undermine the UK common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish sea, and no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it. I will be making it crystal clear to President Juncker and others that we will never do so.”
“As I said earlier, and I am happy to repeat again, the draft legal text that the Commission has published, if implemented, would undermine the UK common market and threatens the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish sea. No UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it, and I will be making that absolutely clear.”
Theresa May, Prime Minister, 28 February, 2018
FAST FORWARD 19 DAYS…
Barnier & Davis yesterday
Yesterday the EU’s unelected Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis MP held a joint press conference in Brussels, to announce that they had reached substantive agreement on most of the new transition deal and withdrawal agreement.
Part of this deal involved the UK agreeing to the back-stop solution for Northern Ireland, to which Theresa May had said “no UK Prime Minister could ever agree”.
“We agreed today that the back stop solution must form part of the legal text of the withdrawal agreement.”
Michel Barnier, (unelected) Chief Brexit Negotiator, EU Commission, 19 March, 2018
Opening page of 129 page document:
“With respect to the DRAFT PROTOCOL ON IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND, the negotiators agree that a legally operative version of the ‘backstop’ solution for the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, in line with paragraph 49 of the Joint Report, should be agreed as part of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, to apply unless and until another solution is found.”
Mrs May has not yet announced when she will be standing down as Prime Minister.
WHAT ELSE DOES THIS AGREEMENT SAY?
The 129 page document from the EU covers a very large number of issues. Around 75% of these have been agreed and these agreements are either in detail or in outline. There remain some areas still to be thrashed out but the direction of travel is clear.
The United Kingdom government appears to have capitulated on every single point of dispute.
Here are just some of the highlights:
BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY – DRAFT WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT
Border in Irish Sea – backstop solution still in place
Free movement into UK – to continue
Right to stay permanently – to continue
Single Market – to continue
Customs Union – to continue
Jurisdiction of foreign judges and supremacy of foreign law – to continue
Massive annual payments to the EU – to continue
Inability to trade internationally under UK-negotiated trade deals – to continue
EU’s rights over UK’s territorial waters – to continue
The Common Agricultural Policy – to continue
The Common Fisheries Policy – to continue
All of the above will continue as at present until at least the start of 2021.
What will not continue is the UK’s right to be present on all decision-making bodies in the EU. The UK will not be able to influence laws, directives, regulations or anything else.
Even by the low standards of discourse of the political and media Establishment when it comes to the EU, yesterday plumbed new depths for us.
When reviewing such a lengthy document and considering all the travesties it’s hard to know how much information to put into an article like this. We chose the Northern Ireland issue to represent just how bad the sell-out is. We could have chosen many more.
For example, you may wish to read our two explainers on the problems of our fisheries industry and the issue of regaining control of our territorial waters.
The United Kingdom will truly become a vassal state of the European Union, to borrow Mr Rees-Mogg’s phrase. Given the enormous economic, military, diplomatic and cultural power of the UK, this vassal status relative to the EU will be on a scale never before seen in history.
Terms such as ‘sell-out’, ‘capitulation’ and ‘surrender’ are the most appropriate, though the media seems to have little comprehension of what a disgrace this is.
What was even worse for us was seeing supposedly pro-Brexit organizations and individuals almost seeming to accept the appalling betrayal of all Leave voters by this government.
In June 2016 the ordinary people of this great country defeated the combined might of the EU, British political parties, the Establishment, the world of finance and big business, and international organizations and world leaders. We did what no-one thought we could do.
Why are leading Brexiteers and pro-Brexit organisations sounding so defeatist?
WHY AREN’T THEY, LIKE US, SAYING WE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS?
Prime Minister, you started your premiership by telling us what Brexit meant. Brexit, from what we recall.
Well, whatever Brexit really means, the EU document to which you’re signing up the country isn’t it.[Sources: HMG | EU Commission] 07.25am, 20 March, 2018
Name: Chris, Devizes Date/Time: 20 Mar 2018, 10.25am
Message: It seems that Tusk and Varadkar between them have set a massive trap, and the useless incompetent May has just walked right into it. All the EU has to do is refuse to accept any UK proposed solution for the Irish border, and NI then effectively remains in the EU in perpetuity. May will be remembered as the PM who triggered the beginnings of a united Ireland, which is exactly what the EU wants. A united Ireland makes the UK smaller (weaker) and the EU larger. May should be charged with treason for lying to the House and the British people.
Name: Carole, Merseyside Date/Time: 20 Mar 2018, 09.24am
Message: You forgot to detail Paragraph 49 of the joint report. This is the Backstop:
49. The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.
NO transition period and NO trade deal negotiations. A clean, no deal Brexit is what many people want and deserve.