Rees-Mogg: Brussels’ Demand for Supremacy of EU Courts After Brexit Would Turn UK into ‘Convict State’

Thomas Frey/AFP

Unelected Brussels bureaucrats are set to demand the UK continue to obey the rulings of European Union courts for an indefinite period after Brexit as they maintain their uncompromising stance in divorce negotiations.

The UK must bow down to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as the ultimate arbiter of treaty-related disputes during and after the divorce and ‘transition period’, the European Commission is expected to insist in a draft withdrawal agreement to be released Wednesday.

The bloc wants the so-called “governance mechanism”, seen by three sources who spoke to the Financial Times, to be enforceable with punitive sanctions including cutting the UK off from the European Union’s (EU) Single Market.

It is contained within a 160-word document alongside other demands likely to enrage those hoping for a clean break from the EU, and comes days after the Prime Minister reportedly surrendered to the bloc on continuing open borders and maintaining “regulatory alignment”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory MP who chairs the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG), said the European Commission plan would turn Britain into a “convict state”.

“I think the EU is going to suggest some things that the British government will reject this week and this sounds like one of them,” he said.

“It would turn us from a vassal state into a convict state, sentenced to hard labour for our love of democracy.”

If the plan is implemented, the ECJ would be responsible for arbitrating the withdrawal process and transition period, which is likely to give it power over the UK for much longer than the two years promised.

Theresa May this week proposed making the ‘transition period’ – during which the UK will remain tied to the EU on the same basis as it is now – indefinite.

“Our dispute settlement is through the ECJ,” said one senior EU official who had seen the draft withdrawal text.

“It covers the whole thing, the whole agreement. The Brits know our position and they’ve not put out their own position, so what can we do?”

Mrs. May has previously said the UK will free itself from the powers of EU courts when it leaves the bloc after the agreed two-year transition period.

A government paper published in December was clear, saying that the continued dominance of the ECJ would be “incompatible with the principle of having a fair and neutral means of resolving disputes”.

Mr. Rees-Mogg’s ERG agrees and sent a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that the power of EU courts ends after the divorce. The group has at least 60 supporters in parliament and Mrs. May needs their support to win votes.


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