ConHome: It is far better to risk extending Article 50 than to accept May’s bad deal

Key points:

  • A short Article 50 extension of under 3 months would make no practical difference and fear of one is not a reason for backing the deal.
  • A long extension of 21 months would have the same practical result as the “implementation” period in the deal, except the UK would be much better off than under the deal because we would still have a vote and representation in EU institutions and the European Parliament.
  • Unlike the deal, we would be free to leave on 1st January 2021 without being trapped in the “backstop” Protocol.
  • Our financial liabilities during the 21 month extension would be the same as under the deal, but unlike the deal, we would have no obligations afterwards.
  • Unlike under the deal, we would not be subject to indefinite ECJ jurisdiction after 2020.
  • We would not be subject to EU state aid controls after 2020, nor to Commission and ECJ “long tail” powers after that date.
  • We could line up international trade deals to come into force from 1st January 2021. Under the deal, we could not do this because the backstop Protocol and the commitments on tariffs we have made in the Political Declaration mean we could not assure negotiating partners that we would be in a position to implement deals with them.
  • We would have more time to prepare for a “no deal” Brexit, enhancing our negotiating power with the EU, and also more time to develop and deploy alternative customs control methods on goods crossing the Irish border.
  • An Article 50 extension is obviously being used as a ‘Trojan horse’ by Remainers and referendum-deniers who want to reverse Brexit. But Brexit supporters should not be swayed by that into supporting Theresa May’s deal which would poison Brexit and create a situation so bad that calls to re-enter the EU would grow in order at least to have a vote on all the areas where we will be rule-takers from Brussels.

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