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‘EU Has Offered UK Canada+++ Deal Since Beginning’ Says Bloc’s President

Theresa May and Donald Tusk Brexit
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty

The President of the European Council has said the bloc has offered Britain a Canada-style deal “from the beginning” despite the Prime Minister’s claim that the only options are Chequers or ‘No Deal’.

“From the very beginning, the EU offer has been a Canada+++ deal,” Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

He added said this deal would be “Much further-reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation. This is a true measure of respect. And this offer remains in place.”

Critics were quick to point out that Brussels’ uncompromising stance on the Irish border appears to contradict this statement, as a trade deal allowing some diversion on goods regulations, unlike Theresa May’s Chequers proposals, would require checks on the border.

The Prime Minister accused the EU of treating the United Kingdom with a lack of “respect” after an EU summit in Austria last month, when Mr Tusk slammed her Chequers Brexit plan and mocked her on social media for “cherry picking”.

Last month, Theresa May said MPs will have a choice between her proposed Chequers deal with the EU and a ‘No Deal’ exit based on standard World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, claiming Brexiteer plans for a trade deal would create a “hard border 20km inside Ireland”.

She also said at the end of September that a ‘No Deal’ exit from the bloc would be better for the nation than a bad deal.

Speaking ahead of a UN conference, she said: “I think a bad deal, for example, would be something that broke up the United Kingdom.”

Brexiteers in the European Research Group (ERG), led by Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, say a ‘No Deal’ would not be harmful, but insist the best outcome for Britain is a Canada-style deal.

Tory Brexiteers recently rallied behind a new ‘Plan A+’ Brexit proposal from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), calling for the United Kingdom to push for an advanced free trade agreement and to use technology to prevent a hard border with Ireland.

A majority of the Cabinet reportedly now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal over Mrs May’s plan to keep the country tied to EU rules on goods, therefore hindering an independent trade policy.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson commented last month: “Under ‘Chequers,’ you lose control of your laws. Your laws are made in Brussels and they’re imposed on the UK. I mean, we’ve never had anything like that in 1,000 years.”

He added: “Chequers keeps us basically locked in an EU legislative system, and [Plan A+] sets us free to prosper and do free trade deals around the world.”

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