Brexiteers launch an alternative vision for withdrawal agreement

Brexiteers launch an alternative vision for withdrawal agreement

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Conservative Brexiteers have launched a pamphlet setting out proposals for an alternative EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The paper, entitled A Better Deal, retains many elements of May's package but removes what they referred to as "poison pills" which prevented her securing cross-party support.

Backers of the new approach - including former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab - said that Parliament had effectively rejected the PM's deal by making it impossible for her to get it through the Commons.


'Modest and reasonable' 

The document, drawn up by a former adviser to Liam Fox, Shanker Singham, customs expert Hans Maessen and lawyer Robert MacLean, proposed:

- No single customs territory between the UK and the EU, allowing Britain to regain control over tariffs and regulations and negotiate trade agreements with other countries;

- A 10-year, extendable backstop featuring advanced customs facilitation measures to keep the Irish border open, a zero-tariff free trade agreement in goods and a commitment by all parties not to place infrastructure on the border;

- Mutual recognition of regulations, with measures to ensure that the animal health and disease control zone on the island of Ireland can be maintained;

- Level playing field provisions on labour, the environment, competition and state aid;

- The removal of geographic indications provisions from the Withdrawal Agreement, to be considered as part of a later free trade deal;

- The removal of language on World Trade Organisation collaboration, ensuring that the UK can operate independently in the WTO.

Launching the paper, Raab said: "There are modest and reasonable changes that could help salvage the proposed deal with the EU.

"The UK needs a unilateral exit mechanism from the backstop, but we can give the Irish Government assurances that we would put in place specific measures to guarantee no return to a hard border.

"This proposal can help deliver this and allay fears that the UK would be stuck indefinitely in an undemocratic regime of laws we have no control over and can't exit."

Also backing the paper was Raab's predecessor as Brexit Secretary David Davis.