The Prime Minister has been urged by senior Brexiteers to ditch her plans for a soft Brexit and pursue a “superior” Canada-style deal.
Theresa May published her controversial White Paper on Thursday which would pave the way for the softest possible Brexit when Britain leaves the bloc next March.
In response, Brexiteers have drafted a paper setting out where the Government’s Brexit strategy has gone wrong and how it can get back on track.
The paper, written by senior economists at Economists for Free Trade and endorsed by Leave Means Leave, the leading Brexit campaign group, describes how the Government’s plans would “see a large part of our economy continue to be ruled by the EU” and how free movement would continue from the EU.
“The blunt truth is that the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan would be Brexit In Name Only – BRINO. This would lock the UK into current EU arrangements for an indeterminate number of years, preventing the UK from embracing worldwide free trade and putting in place new pro-growth regulations.”
The paper predicts that this is just the starting point in the negotiations, and the Government will be “forced to retreat further into the clutches of the EU – something we have fought to escape”.
It warns that trying to get such a weak deal through Parliament would be a “suicide mission” for the Tory leadership.
The Brexiteers make the case for a Canada+ option that would mean there would be zero tariff and non-tariff barriers between the UK and the EU. Standards on EU imports would continue to be determined by the EU and standards on UK imports would be determined by the UK.
It dispels the myth that there would be barriers between the UK and the EU:
“Any such surge in barriers would be completely illegal under World Trade Organisation rules. Border procedures must be seamless and effectively costless”.
More than half of all UK trade is governed by WTO rules now and it is projected to increase.
The paper criticises the “extreme ignorance” of how WTO rules work and has allowed Project Fear “to take hold among industrialists and the Civil Service”. It says:
“They have assumed that the WTO world is a lawless world in which ‘hostile governments’ can ‘make trouble’. Yet WTO law is plain – it mandates seamless border procedures and outlaws discrimination on standards. Furthermore no one in their right mind would claim that either the UK or the EU would defy international law: both make a particular point of adhering to it, given the centrality of international law to the Treaties on which both take their stands.”
The Brexiteers say that the facts about the workings of the WTO need to be widely disseminated and that senior Government ministers, industry, the Civil Service and Tory Remainers must understand why they are wrong about Canada +.
“Canada+ would give all the security over border treatment that would occur under the Chequers proposals. But it would also permit the UK to set its own regulations throughout the economy, sign FTAs with the rest of world in the knowledge that less discrimination on standards and so freer trade can be in the policy mix, and recover control of its borders.”
Former Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, commented:
“The Chequers White Paper completely fails to deliver the clear Conservative Manifesto promise to leave the Single Market, the Customs Union and the jurisdiction of the European Court in anything but name. It would bind significant parts of our economy to European law in the interests of the 12 per cent involved in exports to the EU while holding back the other 88 per cent. It would severely impair our ability to forge independent trading relationships.
“As Professor Patrick Minford sets out in detail, we would be far better off taking the Canada+/WTO route. We would then be free to make our own laws for our own priorities, working within WTO rules which require seamless border procedures and outlaw discrimination on standards.
“The Government must now take these arrangements seriously and ramp up its preparations to trade on WTO terms to deliver Brexit as demanded by 17.4 million people.”
Please find the paper here.