By Edward Rennie, Labour Leave Campaign
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At Labour Leave we cautiously welcomed the moving on of Brexit talks on to the second stage. A divorce bill on the larger end of the EU’s demands of £60-100 Billion has apparently been avoided. The ECJ will not be the final authority on EU Citizens rights in the UK, and Northern Ireland will not be required to stay in the EU internal market or the customs union.
Significant matters of concern are still looming. On EU citizens UK courts will still have to give ‘due regard’ to ‘relevant’ decisions of ECJ on a permanent basis. Lastly the compromise over the Irish border includes that in the ‘absence of agreed solutions’ the UK ‘will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support … the all-island economy’. Then Philip Hammond curiously suggested that we would pay the agreed settlement even if we didn’t have an acceptable free trade deal with the EU.
Together with this we learn that the EU wants to make stage two of talks about the ‘transitional period’ leaving substantive trade talks until a new ‘stage 3’!
You can see what the EU is up to. In its vision of a tariff free trade deal it sees the UK binding itself to internal market regulations rather than mutual recognition with ultimate decisions on that having ‘due regard’ to the ECJ and binding us to pay £40 Billion in stage 2 before we’ve accepted or rejected their offer on trade in stage 3.
The British government must resist this and Labour must not act as the henchman or handmaid to the EU’s strategy. Keir Starmer’s interview with Andrew Marr where he talked of ‘staying aligned’ with the EU is therefore deeply disappointing.
At Labour Leave we will continue to work with our MPs that supported leaving the EU and those who genuinely accept the referendum result to ensure whilst we don’t give the government a blank cheque, neither do we undermine its negotiating strength nor betray the principle of self rule that the British public voted for.