, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. I've often criticised the Brexit debate for disregarding detail, but when it comes to the bigger picture, sometimes you can get too hung up on the details to the point of being self-defeating. #Brexit thread.
2. Irrespective of its many flaws the withdrawal agreement is the treaty between the EU and the UK that in every legal and formal sense says we are out of the EU. The moment it takes effect we are an ex-EU member. That is what we voted for.
3. It then puts us in a transition stage where both sides are bound by the political declaration to negotiate a new bilateral relationship that delivers on the objectives set out in it. It is worded so that we can defer the exact debate until the withdrawal business is complete.
4. Here MPs are getting far too caught up in what the overall deal looks like when the Article 50 process was only ever designed to deal with the terms of divorce. The details are important but not as important as what replaces it.
5. The political declaration affords us scope to prevent the backstop ever taking effect. There are enough mechanisms and precedents to construct something that can do that if all sides focus on that objective.
6. It is then also possible that any future deal supersedes anything in the WD that is especially disagreeable. One way or another though, the WD is going to contain one or two bitter pills. That was always inevitable.
7. Like it or not, there are going to be legacy issues from being a member for forty years, and we do have obligations if we want to uphold our reputation internationally. Leavers were never going to get everything they wanted. That's just the nature of the beast.
8. In the end, every formal trade agreement carries binding commitments and the nature of modern trade is legal cooperation and regulatory harmonisation. No two advanced nations operate without formal agreements on trade and transboundary concerns.
9. If you favour no deal then you favour the UK abnegating all of its obligations which will carry penalties for our future relations with the EU and others. As much as anything it shafts our Efta allies and does nothing for our exports.
10. Course, at this point, with all the primary source information in the public domain available to you, if you still think no deal is viable then you just can't be helped. You're a lost cause. But the best hope of an amicable relationship is May's deal.
11. We should not forget that even the future relationship is not set in stone and many of the provisions of the WD will naturally expire. Bilateral relations with the EU will evolve as will customs systems as new tech comes on line. We're only a decade away from Single Window.
12. Brexit was always going to be more of a process than an event. Unpicking 40 years of legal and technical integration was never going to happen overnight. You can unplug the system at the wall but it would be grossly irresponsible for any government to do this in peacetime.
13. Pragmatists and realists, therefore, need to accept that the deal is imperfect but acknowledge that it does get the process started. That's the only way to honour the referendum while escaping an entirely nihilistic and self harming no deal.
14. The Brexiteers will whine about it - and there is much to whine about, but they had every opportunity to offer a grown up, deliverable plan. Instead they devoted all their runtime to spreading lies about the WTO option. They forfeited their right to complain by not engaging.
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