Brexiteers must back the Withdrawal Agreement so we can finally Leave | Tamsin Richardson
By not backing the Withdrawal Agreement, the ERG has – ironically – been the most important tool for the Remain campaign. Parliament’s refusal to back the Withdrawal Agreement has meant that there is a very real danger that we might now stay in the EU.
In short, May’s deal lays out the basis for the financial settlement to the EU, and the transitional period that we would be in after we leave the EU. Practically, May’s deal consists of the Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration. The withdrawal agreement covers the transitional period up until the end of 2020. The 500-page plus paper includes agreements covering immigration, justice, trade, and citizens’ rights. Most importantly the deal consists of a deal for Ireland that would prevent a hard border. Ireland’s turbulent history has meant that both sides have wanted to avoid a hard border, which could potentially increase friction; this is perhaps the most important aspect of the deal, and it means that Northern Ireland will remain within the customs union, unlike the rest of the UK. This backstop agreement will remain in place until an FTA is reached, estimated until 2020.
As mentioned, the deal also covers citizens’ rights, by allowing mutual respect of EU citizens’ rights with the UK and of UK citizens living in the EU. EU citizens will have to apply for settled status, meaning that they will still be able to reside in the UK. On trade, there are deals to respect the product protections placed on regional products, such as champagne and on Cornish pasties. On issues like justice and trade, we will keep the de factoagreements until the end of the transitional agreement. This transitional agreement is not perfect for Brexiteers who want a clean break from the EU, but it does reduce the economic and political uncertainty that would come from leaving the EU.
The Withdrawal Agreement also covers the political declaration that would keep the UK in a transitional period until 2020. This means that the UK would still be tied to the EU until the end of the transitional agreement. The most important part of this document explores the relationship between the UK and the EUand makes it subject to evolving political circumstance. Perhaps the biggest point that this declaration makes is the end of the free movement of people within the designated EU agreement.
Lately, it seems like May has been trying to flog her deal with death, making a recent speech on the issue, and promising to resign after the deal is passed. This has caused frustration with hard–line Brexiteers in the ERG; however, I believe that if Mrs. May’s deal is not passed we could end up staying in the EU. After all, in a series of indicative votes on the issue parliament has yet to agree to any deal on Brexit. This could be particularly troublesome as there is growing support on the backbenches for a second referendum. In recent days, there has been increasingsupport in parliament with “Remoaners” to revoke Article 50 and stay in the agreement that we already have with the European Union. These fundamentally undemocratic movements could lead to our permanent stay in the European Union. Importantly, Parliament has voted against a No Deal Brexit; now, the No Deal Brexit a significant number of backbenchers want is impossible to achieve.
May’s deal might be the only chance we have of leaving the EU.