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Sir John Redwood's Diary on the Brexit endgame

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Sir John Redwood's Diary on the Brexit endgame
« on: February 09, 2019, 06:57:25 PM »
Sir John Redwood's Diary on the Brexit endgame

 
John Redwood's Diary


Brexit end game?
Posted: 09 Feb 2019 01:25 AM PST
As we listen to the ticking clock we are assured by the PM we will leave on 29 March this year. The question remains how.
It sounds from the government line and the line of Mrs May’s helpers that they want to get Parliament to reconsider the Withdrawal Agreement Remainers and Leavers united to defeat. They seem to think they can pose Remain MPs with the choice of no deal versus the Agreement where they might prefer the Agreement, whilst saying to Leave MPs its Withdrawal Agreement versus No Brexit. The problem with this approach, as tried last time, is it is contradictory. The threat of No Deal issued to Remain supporters is exactly what many Leave voters now want.
It is not credible to say to Leave MPs Brexit will be cancelled if the Withdrawal Agreement is rejected again. The government would have to propose rescinding the Article 50 letter and embark on the repeal of the EU Withdrawal Act. Many MPs would realise this would destroy trust by electors. It would lead to the loss of many seats as Labour and Consevative MPs who had won in 2017 on a clear promise to implement Brexit faced retribution from angry electors at the following election. It is difficult to see how Mrs May’s leadership would survive any such attempted u turn on such an important issue, and questionable whether DUP support for the government could last either.There is every reason for MPs to stay loyal to the Conservative or Labour Manifesto and refuse to repeal the legislation.
To a Leave MP the Withdrawal Agreement was easy to vote against because it is not leaving. It is a further 21 to 45 months in the EU, accepting their new laws without any say in them, under their court, and paying large unspecified sums to their budget.With the backstop it might keep us in a customs union permanently. The Conservative Manifesto very clearly promised we would leave the EU, single market and Customs Union. The Labour Manifesto promised to leave the EU and set out a detailed trade policy that would be incompatible with Customs Union membership.
Mrs May might late in the day get some legal text offering reassurances about the backstop. It is unlikely to be a full rewrite of the Agreement taking the backstop out in the way parliament requested through the Brady amendment. This should not be enough to lead to the successful passing of a motion in favour ofthe Agreement after all, and certainlynot enough to givethe government a majority for the complex legislation it will take to put the 585 page agreement into UK law. I see no way of avoiding a full debate on the complete agreement, whatever the Bill might say, allowing plenty of opport7nity for doubts to be express about many features of this comprehensive lock up of UK sovereignty under a new and damaging EU Treaty.
Given this Remain may well seek delay instead. The issues this poses are two fold. Why would the EU consent to 3 to 9 months delay, given their view that the negotiations areover and the Agreement cannot be re opened. How would this fit in with their timetable for European elections and a new Commission? Why would they want to prolong the exitof a country that is clearly going to leave that is refusing their terms for an extension of membership?
Worse still is why would the UK want delay? It prolongs business uncertainty. It makes the UK look feeble and indecisive. It delays new trade deals and stops us spending  money saved on exit
It fails to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders. 
I do not see how there are things we can get the EU to agree in April and May that we cannot get them to agree in February and March agains5 the pressure of the deadline of our departure. The public want government and Parliament to just get on wit( it. Tha5 is also the best negotiating strategy.

The Irish border
Posted: 08 Feb 2019 09:10 PM PST
Attitudes to the Irish border sum up the differences between Leave and Remain.
To Leave there is no problem. The current Irish border is a complex international border, handled with the minimum of fuss.It is a Vat, Excise and currency border. These fiscal and financial requirements are handled away from the border, mostly electronically. If there are to be customs we could do the same with those.
It is a border requiring co-operation against smuggling, which already occurs. It is an anti terrorist border, without the need for border posts. There is action by police on both sides of the birder to combat crime. We have a common travel area to ease the movement of people, which will continue after Brexit.
It will become a border for issues of quality and compliance for food and goods. As both sides currently meet the same standards and wish to do so after Brexit to sell to each other, we can continue with compliance checks away from the border with electronic manifests detailing what is on a truck and where it has been or will be tested.
To Remain it is a series of insoluble problems that require Northern Ireland to stay in the single market and customs union. To the Republic of Ireland and the EU it is an opportunity to advance the island of Ireland agenda for government of all matters commercial. They query a series of detailed and sensible proposals using existing technology and practices to avoid a more intrusive police and government presence at the border.
The UK government should repeat that after Brexit it will not impose watch towers and an army of inspectors on the border. It will use existing technology and practises to collect revenue and check goods, and will continue full co-operation with the Republic as now. The Republic can then work with the EU to decide how best to run their side of the border, knowing the UK will be helpful and positive about ensuring a smooth outcome.



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