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Yesterday the Prime Minister agreed a revised deal with the European Union that would enable us to finally leave the EU in less than 2 weeks’ time on 31 October 2019.
The main documents for the deal can be found here:
In summary, the new deal has changed 2 aspects compared to the deal agreed by Theresa May:
- The political declaration on the Future Partnership now makes clear that we will be seeking to negotiate a relationship with the EU based on a comprehensive free trade agreement, with other partnerships for example on security, as opposed to the much closer arrangement previously envisaged. This means we will be free to negotiate trade deals (which will apply to the whole of the UK including Northern Ireland) and we will be free to make our own regulations after the end of the transition period. The Government’s aim is to negotiate this future partnership in time for it to come into effect at the end of 2020.
- The contentious Northern Ireland backstop from the previous deal has been replaced with a new protocol for Northern Ireland. The backstop was one of the main reasons the deal failed previously as it carried a risk of trapping us in a limbo state basically in the customs union and single market with no right to leave until we accepted whatever future arrangements the EU offered. The new protocol sets out the arrangements to avoid any need for border checks on the island of Ireland by having Northern Ireland follow, subject to consent by the NI Assembly every 4 years, the EU rules on goods and apply EU tariffs where appropriate on goods that enter NI but are intended to move on to the Republic of Ireland. For goods remaining in NI the UK tariff rate would apply. NI would be covered by all UK trade deals and all tariffs collected in NI ports would be retained by the UK.
The remainder of the deal, agreeing the rights of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, the transition period to the end of 2020 and the financial settlement, are largely as before.
In my view, this deal represents a very substantial improvement on the previous deal. The planned future relationship with the EU based around a best-in-class free trade deal is the model I have always thought best – leaving us free to make our own decisions but able to trade freely with our neighbours and co-operate on areas with mutual interest but not being bound in their institutions. While I would have preferred not to have a transition period for another 14 months, and feel the financial settlement is overly generous, these are acceptable in order to achieve an orderly Brexit and put an end to this saga.
I will therefore be voting for the deal tomorrow and hope that the House of Commons will this time pass it. We will then need to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Bill before 31 October but both the EU and the UK government believe that all approvals can be obtained for us to leave on time. This is the best deal we can get, it delivers a real Brexit in a responsible and orderly manner and means we will be outside the EU institutions in 13 days time.
To answer some of the questions raised with me:
- Confirmatory referendum – I will not be supporting a 2nd referendum. The people took the decision 3 years ago, confirmed by a general election 2 years ago. Another referendum would only mean more delay and division and there is no clarity on what 2 options people would vote on – deal v no deal, deal v remain, no deal v remain, or wait for a different deal?
- What happens if the deal fails in Parliament? If the deal fails tomorrow, I will vote for us to leave on 31 October without a deal. This is clearly not my preferred outcome but the only other options would be to extend again – and for what there won’t be a different deal – or to cancel Brexit and that would be a betrayal of the democratic vote. I hope the deal passes. If it is voted down, and we are forced to extend again against the Prime Minister’s wishes, then we should have a General Election and give the people the choice between leaving with this deal at the earliest opportunity, scrapping Brexit, or whatever other options different parties have.
We can finally deliver the will of the people tomorrow, leave the EU on 31 October and move on to all the other important issues that we should be dealing with.
The dates of my upcoming surgeries are:
- Alfreton – 25th October 2019
- Heage – 1st November 2019
Please contact my office on 01773 744341 to book an appointment for any of the above, or to arrange an alternative meeting.
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Promoted by Nigel Mills MP of Unicorn House, Wellington Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3EH.
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