It's Brexit decision time

If a good deal cannot be reached, then ‘No Deal’ is the only valid option. An extension MUST NOT be on the cards and a Brexit In Name Only is not Brexit.

European Commission in Brussels
Jayne Adye
On 28 August 2020 12:27

In 5 key areas the European Union continues to create blockages to progress in the trade discussions. These are clearly identifiable as the ‘Level Playing Field’, disputes on fishing, haulage, financial services restrictions, and the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

These are not new areas of dispute. Far from it. They have been the focus of hours and hours of discussions ever since exit negotiations with the EU began.

However, it would seem that despite it being over 4 years since we voted to Leave the EU and the clear lack of progress on these issues since then, United Kingdom negotiators still seem to believe there is a path forward. This is a path I believe we should be very cautious about. The EU has refused to compromise ever since the beginning of these negotiations and there is no sign this is about to change.

Right now, the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, seems to have retained his mentality of rejecting the vital ‘red lines’ of concern to a free sovereign state, in favour of an approach which Brussels clearly believes will punish the UK or keep it under the thumb of the EU for decades to come. 

Last week saw reports of a UK draft legal text of a Free Trade Agreement proposed to the EU by the UK’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, David Frost and given directly to the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, over dinner at the beginning of the negotiations in Brussels last week.

This was unsurprisingly rejected. However, my concern is rooted in the absolute lack of information being released about the contents of the proposed deal. In the past the Government released their proposals for all to see - this time there is nothing. What is in this deal which they do not want the public to see?

Even if we look at the best-case scenario and we are sticking to our guns, refusing the EU’s ridiculous demands - what are we doing still sitting around the negotiating table? We are now simply wasting our time.

It is clear the EU negotiators are not taking the possibility of ‘No Deal’ seriously. Too often they have heard the threat and it has not happened in spite of nearly 4 years of talks. Now is the time to follow through and in doing so, strengthen the negotiating hand of this Government – and our reputation with the rest of the world.

In the week commencing Monday September 7th there is a round of negotiations scheduled between the two sides in London. If progress is still limited, then these should be the last. At this stage, if a Good Deal is not on the table – or very clear progress made - then nothing will be completed before the EU’s own deadline of October 31st. I am fed up with Michel Barnier’s intransigence,  blaming the current position on the UK in his press conference last Friday.

With such a short period of time to negotiate now, the likely outcome will be a rushed deal, which is not given the required scrutiny – just as happened when our Prime Minister Boris Johnson rushed through the Withdrawal Agreement to get it over the line quickly and which has now been shown to contain so many problems.

Perhaps this is the EU and Michel Barnier’s plan, but this time it must not be allowed to happen

If a good deal cannot be reached, then ‘No Deal’ is the only valid option. An extension MUST NOT be on the cards and a Brexit In Name Only is not Brexit. However, the Great British Public need to be kept more informed about the situation to allow sufficient time to prepare for a ‘No Deal’ exit as time is running out. As with all changes, the more information and time to plan, the more any risks can be mitigated and advantages identified.

Clearly, a decision to walk away from negotiations now, does not mean the end of negotiations forever. As with all negotiations, they can be stopped or restarted at any point - with new approaches. What’s more, what I am proposing is not a new idea. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government made a similar commitment back in February of this year, stating: “The broad outline of an agreement should be clear and be capable of being rapidly finalised by September.

If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the Government will need to decide whether the UK’s attention should move away from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the Transition Period in an orderly fashion.” Boris has even had an extra few months to decide, but no progress has been made - so it is now BREXIT decision time!

For the past 4 years, key discussions have made little progress and the EU has continuously made every attempt to keep the UK tied into their institutions and regulations. If a deal which upholds the UK’s sovereignty and protects our waters, borders, money and businesses is not on the table by the end of September, then we must walk away.

This Government has made promises to the voters to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and to Get Britain Out of the EU. It is now time for actions to match up with words.

We cannot allow talks to roll on forever and a clear deadline of the end of September gives clarity to the EU and gives the UK time to properly prepare for leaving the Transition Period as a free independent nation on New Year’s Eve. 

Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading cross-Party, grassroots, Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out

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