‘Plan A+’: Pro-Brexit Groups Launch Chequers Alternative, Rejects EU Alignment, Recommends Free Trade

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Pro-Brexit groups are to launch an alternative Chequers plan Monday that rejects the proposed restrictive alignment with the European Union and recommends the UK become economically competitive again and resume a leadership role in global trade and services.

Produced by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and supported by the Tory European Research Group (ERG), lead by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ‘Plan A+’  diverges from Prime Minister Theresa May’s concessionary soft Brexit plan, the government white paper otherwise known as the Chequers plan, according to papers seen by Breitbart London.

It rejects proposals for “substantially harmonised regulations” with the EU which the paper says “would make an independent trade policy all but impossible”, adding that the white paper includes a “swathe of other infringements to independence” that run counter to the spirit of the vote to leave the European Union.

In addition, the paper recommends that instead of seeking concession and compromise with the EU, which recently has resulted in the Chequers plan being slapped down by leading eurocrats, the country should be more aggressive in approach and aim to create leverage over the bloc to gain a negotiating advantage.

Supporters of the plan include former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit minister David Davis, the Daily Telegraph reports.

A major recommendation in the paper comes in the form of the alternative to Chequers — “a UK-EU Free Trade Plus deal” with “maximum regulatory recognition” that would result in “zero tariffs in goods and agriculture” and “maximum liberalisation” on services.

The plan requires “negotiating regulatory recognition with the EU”, which though will be “challenging”, cannot be abandoned as “tying the UK to future EU regulation is a major threat to the UK economy.”

Organised into four “pillars” of prosperity, the think tank recommends that the UK make unilateral moves, freeing the country from adherence to EU norms which “hold us back”, including restoring full sovereignty over territorial fishing waters. It will also reccomend abolishing the free movement of people from the EU; and rejecting participation in PESCO — the bloc’s first step towards an EU army — in favour of cooperation with European partners in defence matters.

The UK should also be making “bilateral agreements with others concurrently during the EU negotiation”, the paper adds, rather than prioritising solely the future trade arrangements with the EU, and that simultaneous negotiations should taking place with the U.S., China, and India and other strategic partners.

The UK should also seek membership of major plurilateral arrangements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

And finally, in terms of multilateral strategy, the paper recommends the UK join World Trade Organization (WTO) groups including The Cairns Group of agricultural exporters and should, as the world’s second-largest services exporter, launch the ‘Manchester Group of Services Exporters’, taking a leadership role in “services liberalisation”.

Significantly, the think tank suggests that there needs be a “strategic shift” in order to facilitate these four pillars, noting that “the UK should move to a more aggressive footing” if the EU does not cooperate with serious UK proposals including being prepared to take action at the WTO for any violations.

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a crunch Cabinet meeting on Monday, where she will reportedly be urged to come up with an alternative to her Chequers plan or face resignations.

On Saturday, Leave Means Leave launched the campaign to “chuck Chequers” and save Brexit, while the George Soros-backed Best for Britain has ramped up its efforts to stop the UK leaving the EU.

Follow Victoria Friedman on Twitter at @FriedmanPress
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