I read that breaking international law is a great negotiating move by the UK government, or we're stopping Ireland starving (study some history) and I get the nasty politics, but question:

For goods coming into the UK from the Republic of Ireland, where are our border checks?
Sorry if we're getting back to 2019's alternate arrangements farrago, but what is the big UK government vision here? How are they stopping the checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain? Because we went through this before, and there was no other answer.
In the context of very real differences of opinion in Northern Ireland the suggestion that the EU want to stop GB food exports is petulant childishness. Not a real issue, just something that sounds good to London media and those who hate the EU. And there are real issues.
It is not widely known that the Northern Ireland Protocol in the context of Brexit disrupts both North-South and East-West trade. The former through restrictions on services trade, the latter through checks on goods trade.
Johnson and his government chose in treaty for Great Britain alone to leave the single market for goods and customs union, leaving Northern Ireland in, as opposed to a backstop for the whole UK. His choice, confirmed by the voters, which he now doesn't like.
So that question again - you pass a domestic law to break international law, but what then? What is your magic solution to Northern Ireland that doesn't involve problems? A Free Trade Agreement reduces new barriers to trade, it does not eliminate them.
And that's this government's planning in a nutshell. Some great idea that if properly scrutinised isn't a great idea after all, because it doesn't actually address the big issue, and in the mean time causes considerable damage.
Of course none of this is about state aid, it remains possible this is one giant distraction to a Conservative government refusing a trade deal because the chief advisor wants to spend public money on tech companies, and he is laughing at gullible MPs falling for it. Possible.
The UK government is threatening international law for no known reason, as ultimately if we're not in the EU we need a border and the Northern Ireland protocol does as good a job as any could. So what is all of this about? /end

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More from @DavidHenigUK

28 Sep
Not often that celebrities with 6.5 million twitter followers launch a campaign on trade policy. Very difficult for UK government as this goes with the grain of a wide spectrum of UK public opinion, and global developments. But no US trade deal would be a huge blow to Brexit.
The general response from the pro-US trade deal lobby is to accuse the campaigners of being protectionist. But as even pro-free market friends have observed societal preferences on food are deeply engrained. Why should these have to be given up?
Others say leave it to consumer choice. But that relies on rigorous labelling which may also be prohibited by a trade deal, and implies some people sadly may just have to eat food the rest of us wouldn't. Not a good answer.
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
Interesting, if in line with expectations (though this is the minimum Member States will agree on level playing field rules). Also the idea of completing a deal in mid-November... Image
Deal requires the government to break with at least some of the ERG, who this time will not be bought off with talk of later revisions, accept the Northern Ireland protocol in full, and back down over the Internal Market Bill. Manageable, but...
Basically there's a cost to either deal or no-deal with the EU. Plenty of small print in any deal. Consequences of no-deal. On balance leaders normally prefer deals. But their closest supporters often don't. All to play for.
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
The pessimistic view on a UK-EU deal. If this thread is correct about Number 10's approach a deal is impossible because any deal will inevitably constrain the UK's future rule making ability.
But - plenty of Conservatives are deeply concerned by the dogmatic approach implied over the internal market bill, state aid and future rule setting - it means no US or EU deal, and a Japan deal was only possible because that was ignored.
As I've said before, we approach ultimate decision time for Number 10. No-deal at the height of covid with likely major knock on for manufacturing? Double down on Northern Ireland and lose US deal? Back down on internal market bill and state aid, and do a deal? That's the choice.
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
Reading between the lines, Downing Street realising they boxed themselves in with EU deal timescales and the second covid wave (as they were warned and rejected) and that they now have to go for a deal. Little pretence here it is the EU softening.
However, we wait to see how the Brexit ultras will respond to the government going for an EU deal, presuming this time they won't fall for the idea it can be changed later. Are they going to try to make a fuss, knowing that one deal with the EU is likely to be followed by others?
Garvan is not confident (an all-weather tweet).

I interpreted the omission of state aid from the article as a tacit retreat from the UK side, rather than expecting EU retreat, but we shall see.
Read 7 tweets
24 Sep
Another UK trade initiative courtesy of Food, Farming and Countryside Commission - #TradeUnwrapped - encouraging a debate on the issues around this from chlorinated chicken to animal welfare - tradeunwrapped.uk
See also for example the Which campaign on trade deals... campaigns.which.co.uk/trade-deals/
TradeUnwrapped / Food, Farming and Countryside Commission kindly asked me to write about trade myths / WTO rules and so on. So I wrote about chicken in a tin, alphonso mangoes, haggis, and seal products. Had to get one of my favourites in there. tradeunwrapped.uk/trade-myths
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
Useful thread from one of our Brussels journalists (without whom we really wouldn't know a lot about the state of UK-EU negotiations). Progress next weeks possibly laying the ground for a deal in October, and text by, gulp, early November.
An agreement only available early November really can't be effectively scrutinised by mid-December, still less can business be ready for e.g. rules of origin requirements. The UK Parliament may not be allowed a vote, but the European version must have one.
Michael Gove suggested yesterday no implementation period for a new agreement, and obviously government wants business to be ready. Much to be done deal or no-deal. But right now the timescales don't look right. Call it something else?
Read 5 tweets

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