No need to give credit to negotiators, I think, because it’s not a good deal.
Its failure is that it does not deliver on Brexit and, instead of taking back control, in some areas it will leave the United Kingdom with even less control than it currently has: the vassal state.
The Withdrawal Agreement is declared to be superior law and is designed to be an international treaty that would override UK law, exactly as membership of the EU does.
Law is at the heart of taking back control, the promise given in the referendum.
Who makes the rules? Is it decided democratically dependent upon the votes of British people or is it to be made by a range of nations and bureaucrats in Brussels?
The withdrawal treaty contains powers that would not return to the UK and specifically states that the Court of Justice of the European Union will be the final arbiter whenever the treaty connects with European law.
It does not recognise, nor does the political agreement, any equivalent for UK judges on our laws.
Not only will the UK’s ability to set its own laws be compromised but so will taxation.
The treaty allows the EU to set the UK’s tariffs as part of the backstop provisions. It would be illegal for them to be reduced, so taxation without representation is a feature of this agreement.
This denies the UK a key benefit of leaving: the possibility to have lower prices for food, clothing and footwear.
Yet the constitutional principle of consent for taxation from Parliament on behalf of the people is more important than the loss of a future opportunity.
It shows a wanton disregard for good governance. This is also true of the Irish question. Our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland are going to face regulation from Dublin which they have historically rejected rather than from their own democracy.
The full EU customs rulebook would apply without their consent and it requires that Northern Ireland follows 291 EU regulations. The rest of the UK would not be bound by these but would have to impose an internal border within our own country if we were to exercise our basic democratic rights.
Superior EU law, taxation without representation and a divided nation… that is what the Government proposes to buy with £39billion of taxpayers’ money. In return, there is a political declaration that offers warm words to us but odd specifics for the EU.
Once again, the EU is to have its court recognised as superior and, peculiarly, the obscure cost of droit de suite is specifically preserved. The UK has also agreed to a level playing field but this is code for adopting EU inefficiencies.
In an ideal world, trade would be fair and governments would not seek to subsidise national champions but the EU is less concerned about this than the UK becoming a more sensibly regulated market.
This is not a question of wholesale de-regulation but of allowing free markets to prosper.
As Sir James Dyson has exposed in his recent legal action on vacuum cleaner regulations, some rules are merely there to help German industry – while the scandal over diesel emissions proved the same point.
A level playing field must not become a sticky wicket. This approach to policy-making is made in Downing Street.
Many Conservatives have begged the Government to change course and to deliver on the promises made in our election manifesto. Keeping faith with the electorate is essential if there is to be trust in politics.
Sadly, the Prime Minister has not done this, which is why, in spite of her many virtues and great dutifulness, I can no longer support her leadership.
In return, I have been compared to Captain Mainwaring, which I take as a compliment. He may have had his idiosyncrasies but he took his patriotic duties seriously and did his best. There was always something stoically admirable about him.
At the conclusion of Dad’s Army he spoke of preserving freedom, saying “there are thousands of us all over Great Britain who’ll stand together when their country needs them”. There still are.
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