, 22 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
One of the strange things about the Brexit debate at the moment is the persistence of certain idées fixes about the PM's Brexit deal & its alternatives which are repeated by critics

Here's a Sunday afternoon mythbusting thread


Myth 1 - the deal isn't Brexit

This is often repeated; yet it is simply preposterous

Deal would take us out EU - no commissioner, no MEPs, no compulsory financial contributions (once exit bill settled), no voting rights, basically out EU legal order

It literally is Brexit

Myth 2 - this deal would mean BRINO or staying in Single Market

Again this is total rubbish

The deal takes us definitively out the Single Market.

Even in the backstop, we would be free of practically all Single Market rules & could end free movement & diverge on services

The main exception is that we would have to maintain the stock of existing goods & agriculture rules in Northern Ireland (plus a few other rules around the Single Energy Market and so on)

We could reject any new goods rules from applying anywhere in UK

Myth 3 - we would be a vassal state


After standstill 21 month transition, we would be free to reject new EU rules in almost all areas even in backstop

We wouldn't have to pay ongoing membership contributions; we would keep all customs revenue

Myth 4 - we will have to join a customs union to leave backstop

A future Government could opt to do so (just as they could opt to rejoin the EU)

But we couldn't be forced to join a customs union

Plus EU has agreed to allow us to control our own trade policy in future

Myth 5 - wet stamps

There's an idea that has sprung up that every consignment passing from GB to NI or the EU will require a physical certificate to be wet stamped (as in using ink)

I can't understand where this has come from & it's wrong

Myth 6 - backstop means hard customs & regulatory checks between Great Britain & Northern Ireland / EU


Some regulatory checks will be required but these will be

✅ primarily in market (for goods)
✅ conducted by UK (not EU) authorities

There will be some additional checks on agricultural products (SPS checks) crossing Irish Sea but remember that there are already some such checks

As per Myth 5 - there will need to be some certification for customs agreed but it won't be wet stamped & should be electronic

Myth 7 - backstop is unique because it doesn't have unilateral exit

@DavidDavisMP repeated this on Marr

🔹 UN Charter
🔹 Good Friday Agreement
🔹 Covenant on Civil & Political Rights
🔹 NATO Charter

All lack exit

I want a better exit
But to say it's unique is wrong

Myth 8 - we wouldn't be able to do trade deals in backstop

It's true we would not be able to offer to lower our tariffs on goods/food BUT we could implement deals on
✅ services
✅ customs procedures
✅ investor protections
✅ qualification recognition

Myth 9 - without the ability to vary our goods tariffs (in backstop) we wouldn't be able to do such deals

I would like to gain power to vary tariffs ultimately

But remember Singapore has practically no tariffs and yet still manages to do loads of trade deals - so could we

Myth 10 - we could use GATT Article XXIV in No Deal to secure interim tariff free trade with EU


This only works if EU agrees and they have so far been clear they won't

No Dealers bang on about EU perfidy but also assume they would play ball in event No Deal 🙄

Myth 11 - in event of No Deal we could keep £39bn

This only works if you want Never Deal not No Deal

Even if we walk away we are going to end up settling accounts before we do a trade deal with EU

Anyway half the money is to pay for the standstill transition we requested

Myth 12 - if we sign deal we will be forced to jeopardise Five Eyes, join an EU army, or lose control of our benefits system & taxation

I can find almost no factual basis for these silly assertions 😬

Some are drawn from misreading of non-binding political declaration

Myth 13 - Tory manifesto committed to No Deal

✅ manifesto said no deal over bad deal - Government view is this isn't a bad deal
✅ manifesto said out Single Market & Customs Union. This is out Single Market; political declaration points to destination out customs union too


✅ Tories didn't win majority so hard to implement manifesto anyway
✅ Plenty of other bits of manifesto have fallen away for obvious reasons from social care to boundary review

Myth 14 - we could have avoided referral to ECJ on matters of EU law from backstop's arbitration panel

EU believes in autonomy of its legal sphere. Only ECJ can (it argues) decide EU law. So if you want any arbitration with EU you'd prob have to have EU law referral to ECJ

Myth 15 - we got bad deal on level-playing field (labour, environment, competition) rules


Even in backstop we can amend these laws as long as we protect certain principles

We only have to harmonize competition & state aid -even those aren't subject to arbitration

Myth 16 - there's a mandate for No Deal

Vote Leave promised a deal. It said the UK would join a free trade zone from Iceland to Russian border.

That wasn't saying no deal with our biggest trade partner

In sum, there are many myths about deal & it's alternatives

When I point these out I get abuse calling me a shill, sell out, remainer etc

I'm not asking for sympathy but I find this quite odd - there is a tremendous hysteria around all this

Let's calm down & look at facts

The deal remains by far safest path to Brexit & is far better than many of its critics admit

Some critics clearly have something approaching pathological mistrust of EU

But for those open to persuasion I urge you to look v carefully at actual facts before it's too late

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