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Henry Newman @HenryNewman
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1) Over the last few days there's been lots of speculation that Chequers is dead. Perhaps. We've seen MPs, leavers & remain, line up to trash it, as well as attacks from @MichelBarnier. If Chequers can't be saved, then the relationship with the EU must be looser, not closer
2) Chequers proposes a future relationship with EU somewhere between Norway's Single Market membership & Canada's looser free trade agreement. It's a compromise & therefore doesn't please everyone. It's far from perfect. There are details to criticise - e.g. fanciful customs idea
3) But overall Chequers has some merits. It would help protect British manufacturing while allowing greater control over services which make up 80% of our economy. It's also intended to resolve Irish border conundrum. And because it's a compromise it could pass a divided Commons
4) The Government has badly botched its handling. And its half-hearted attempts over summer to promote Chequers have failed to move dial on popularity. Rather than attacking former Foreign Secretary @BorisJohnson, Downing Street should be wheeling out the PM to give a speech.
5) Why hasn't there been a major speech setting out why Chequers makes sense for both UK & EU? And warning what consequences could be of rejecting it? Having taken far far too long to make basic decisions about her preferred Brexit model, Theresa May now needs to sell her policy.
6) Barnier argues giving the UK goods-only access would undermine the integrity of the Single Market, ignoring the precedent of Switzerland's partial relationship or the Ukraine agreement. He also claims that goods & services are more integrated than they really are.
7) The EU claim it's clear logic driving their opposition to Chequers. In reality it's cold politics. They fear giving the UK such a bespoke relationship could mean other states asking for it too.
8) Europhiles demand more compromises to make Chequers acceptable to the EU (seemingly ignoring that the PM has already lost key ministers and has at this stage v little space for further concessions).
9) They call for bigger role for European Court, aligning on services rules & something like free movement of people. In other words a long-term Norway deal. But if Norway's the only thing on offer, there's no point softening red lines. They would have to be redrawn fundamentally
10) So the logic of Brussels' binary all-or-nothing approach to Single Market may be that UK ends up with a relationship more like Canada's, moving further away (metaphorically) from EU. That would mean UK gaining more control but also increase Brexit's disruption for both sides
11) There's no direct need to finalise UK-EU relationship before UK leaves the EU in March 2019. But both sides want some clarity about the future. If it's not going to look like Chequers, it's time to start dusting off the Canada deal. But how then to solve the Irish problem?
12) Without a way through on the Irish backstop - and again the EU is refusing to budge there- there's no withdrawal agreement. So if the Commission won't soften its intransigence, we could well be heading for no deal. My thoughts on @timesredbox 👇…
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