John Peet Profile picture
12 Sep, 19 tweets, 3 min read
Even by his own low standards, Boris Johnson’s Telegraph article plumbs new depths of shoddiness and dishonesty (short thread) 1/
It was obvious to anyone who thought for 5 minutes that Northern Ireland and specifically the border with Ireland would be a massive problem if the UK voted for Brexit 2/
When it did, Britain agreed to an EU demand that NI should be part of the Withdrawal Agreement, not the future relationship. It could have said no. Johnson was foreign secretary at the time. 3/
There were only ever two possible solutions to the NI conundrum. One, align the UK with the EU’s customs code and almost all single-market rules, including for SPS. Thus no border controls between UK and Ireland. 4/
Two, align NI alone with the EU’s customs code and almost all single-market rules, including for SPS. But that inevitably meant customs and other checks in the Irish Sea. 5/
“Alternative arrangements”, “Malthouse compromises” or claims that neither Ireland nor the UK would ever put up border controls: none of these were ever going to work. 6/
In December 2017 Theresa May toyed with solution two, but was forced off it by Arlene Foster, and then said that no British prime minister would ever agree to it. 7/
So she fell back on solution one, calling it a backstop in hopes that something else might come along in a future FTA that would avoid having to use it. 8/
When Johnson took over, he decided to junk the NI backstop. The only way to do this was to revert to solution two, in effect creating a frontstop for immediate use after Brexit.9/
Now Johnson expresses outrage because the protocol he signed and ratified means border and customs controls in the Irish Sea. And a backdoor for EU state aid rules via the province. 10/
Yet he knew this in October 2019, and in the December election, and when ratifying the WA. The claim it was too rushed to understand is absurd: he forced it through with minimum debate. 11/
On export declarations NI to GB, the default option that all goods GB to NI should be treated as at risk of entering the single market and on state aids, the NI protocol could not be clearer. 12/
To claim that the EU is adopting an “extreme” position of trying to divide the United Kingdom is outrageously dishonest. It was Johnson who chose to carve off NI, not the EU. 13/
And his whole party, including all those Brexiteers shouting loudest now, supported this choice. Knowing that it meant a border in the Irish Sea. 14/
It is true that a joint committee exists to sort out practicalities of the NI protocol. But it was not set up to change the meaning of the WA, and it cannot legally be used to rewrite a treaty. 15/
If Johnson did not want a border in the Irish Sea, he could have refused to agree to the protocol. That would have meant no WA, but it would at least have been honest. 16/
And finally, to pretend that his new internal market bill “protects” the GFA is utter drivel. It was the NI protocol that protected the GFA – either in May’s form or his own. 17/
If anybody is now threatening the GFA and the peace process, it is Boris Johnson. 18 ends/.
PS as a footnote since many people have kindly both liked and retweeted this thread: I note that not one hard Brexiteer that I can find has tried to refute a single statement in this thread. They all know their position is both ridiculous and mendacious.

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More from @JohnGPeet

12 Jun
Why is Boris Johnson’s government refusing to extend transition for a year, when case for is clear, and treaty allows it to be agreed before end-June? A short thread based round my comment in this week’s issue. 1/
Transition of 11 months was always extremely short to get a complex deal agreed and ratified. But covid-19 distraction, problems of negotiating remotely and two extreme mandates have made much worse by producing deadlock in UK/ EU talks. 2/
UK firms on their knees thanks to covid-19 are just not ready for sharp break in January , even if there is a deal in place. Customs agents? Licences? SPS checks? Rules of origin? 3/
Read 15 tweets
6 Feb
Trouble ahead on EU/UK negotiations, a short thread after a few days in Brussels based on my article this week. 1/
The gap between Barnier’s draft guidelines and Johnson’s speech/statement is wide, and because Johnson refuses even to consider an extension time is exceptionally short. 2/
The EU is taking an extreme position on level playing-field. UK has a point when arguing that no other FTA requires a partner to follow EU rules so rigorously. 3/
Read 13 tweets
10 Jan
What we have learnt about Brexit’s next stage, short thread based on my Economist piece this week. 1/
First, Parliament no longer matters. The sight of MPs rejecting all amendments to the WAB, however reasonable, and passing all its new provisions, however undesirable, confirms that the Johnson government can do what it likes now. A far cry from the days of Theresa May. 2/
This means Brexit will happen on January 31st. But it will not be “done” and nor can the word Brexit be dropped as the news shifts to business pages. We will be in an 11-month transition during which a highly complex deal on the future must be both completed and ratified. 3/
Read 14 tweets
5 Dec 19
Why I am worried about Johnson getting Brexit done, short thread based on my piece in this week’s Economist./1
With a Tory majority, Parliament seems sure to ratify the Article 50 withdrawal agreement Johnson renegotiated in October in time for Brexit on January 31st./2
The psychological importance of Brexit formally happening will be profound, not least because it will kill the argument for holding a second referendum./3
Read 17 tweets
14 Feb 19
Listening to another Commons Brexit debate just after spending two days in Brussels I am struck yet again by how little Tory Brexiteers (even ministers) understand the EU or how it works (thread)
They do not grasp how little trust there is in Theresa May’s government, after it whipped for the Brady amendment to vote against the deal she negotiated and said was the only one available
They cannot see that this makes the EU (and Dublin) even more determined to preserve backstop with no time limit or unilateral exit right, though ready to make promises on temporary nature
Read 12 tweets
28 Jan 19
Reflecting ahead of tomorrow’s Brexit votes, I see curious contradictions and peculiar paradoxes making debate both harder and less predictable (short thread).
1.The Cooper/Boles bid to demand A50 extension dismissed as efforts to stop Brexit. Yet what they want is to prevent no-deal Brexit on March 29th. Many back the May deal. And Brexiteers admit extension needed for necessary legislation. Why must extension equal no Brexit?
1.All sides talk as if Irish backstop imposed on UK by Dublin/Brussels. Yet UK, not EU, drew up the December 2017 text prefiguring the backstop; UK Tories, including Brexiteers, who hailed this as triumph; and UK, not EU, that insisted backstop must be UK-wide, not NI-only.
Read 7 tweets

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