Theresa May has written a “letter to the nation” begging the public to support her Brexit deal, which has been signed off by EU leaders but could be voted down in Parliament by Tory Brexiteers and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The Prime Minister has agreed to pay a £39 billion+ divorce settlement to the EU and submitted to a lengthy “transition” period after Brexit in which Britain will remain subject to all EU rules and regulations, without any representation in EU institutions, during which a future relationship can be negotiated.
If one cannot be struck in time, the “transition” can be extended for up to two years, or the United Kingdom and European Union will enter into “backstop” arrangements which the UK cannot leave without permission, and which would involve the UK continuing adopting EU regulations on goods, competition, state aid, and more, as interpreted by EU judges, and establish a “single customs territory” which largely duplicates the EU Customs Union.
Theresa May does not enjoy an outright majority in Parliament, having to rely on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to pass legislation — and the Brexit-supporting party has vowed to vote against the deal, over additional provision in the backstop which would leave their Province subject to additional EU obligations in order to keep the border with the Irish Republic open.
Dozens of Brexiteer Tories have also vowed to vote against the deal, all but guaranteeing that it will not be ratified — and compelling the Prime Minister to go over politicians’ head to appeal directly to the public for support in this letter to the nation:
“When I became your prime minister, the United Kingdom had just voted to leave the European Union.
“From my first day in the job, I knew I had a clear mission before me – a duty to fulfil on your behalf: to honour the result of the referendum and secure a brighter future for our country by negotiating a good Brexit deal with the EU.
“Throughout the long and complex negotiations that have taken place over the last year and a half, I have never lost sight of that duty.
“Today, I am in Brussels with the firm intention of agreeing a Brexit deal with the leaders of the other 27 EU nations.
“It will be a deal that is in our national interest – one that works for our whole country and all of our people, whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’.
“It will honour the result of the referendum.
“We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.
“Instead of an immigration system based on where a person comes from, we will build one based on the skills and talents a person has to offer.”
The Prime Minister’s claim to have taken back control of Britain’s borders and guaranteed an end to Free Movement of People is contentious, as the EU will remain in effective control of Britain’s customs border during both the “transition” and under the backstop, and she has committed to maintaining the open border with the Republiclic of Ireland which is exploited by illegal migrants and people-traffickers.
Free Movement between Britain and the European Union will of course persist throughout the “transition” period — indeed, it will even be extended to Croatia in 2019, when that country’s citizens acquire full Free Movement rights — and any EU migrant who arrives during the transition will be entitled to settle permanently, as well as to bring in spouses and family members from anywhere in the world in the future.
“We will take back control of our money, by putting an end to vast annual payments to the EU.
“Instead, we will be able to spend British taxpayers’ money on our own priorities, like the extra £394 million per week that we are investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.
“And we will take back control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
“In future, our laws will be made, interpreted and enforced by our own courts and legislatures.
“We will be out of EU programmes that do not work in our interests: out of the Common Agricultural Policy that has failed our farmers, and out of the Common Fisheries Policy that has failed our coastal communities.
“Instead, we will be able to design a system of agricultural support that works for us, and we will be an independent coastal state once again, with full control over our waters.”
The Prime Minister claim that she has taken back control of Britain’s money and ended the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU/ECJ) is also contentious.
The European Union will of course remain in control of customs throughout the transition and within the backstop’s “single customs territory”, with leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson warning that the lion’s share of the duties will continue to be transferred to Brussels.
As for the EU court, while it will not hand down judgements to Britain directly, the Prime Minister has agreed that British judges shall follow its case law when interpreting the rules on the EU rules on goods and agri-products, competition, state aid, etc. which she has agreed to duplicate.
Her claim to have ended the EU’s control over Britain’s fisheries, which allowed Brussels to parcel out most of the country’s stocks to EU trawlers and destroy tens of thousands of jobs, is also dubious, as the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will remain in force throughout the transition and the withdrawal agreement makes it clear that British fish will be excluded from the backstop customs territory unless a similar deal on access and quota shares is struck.
“The deal also protects the things we value.
“EU citizens who have built their lives in the United Kingdom will have their rights protected, as will UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU.
“A free trade area will allow goods to flow easily across our borders, protecting the many skilled jobs right across the country that rely on integrated supply-chains.
“Because our European friends will always be our allies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, the deal will ensure that security co-operation will continue, so we can keep our people safe.
“As prime minister of the United Kingdom, I have from day one been determined to deliver a Brexit deal that works for every part of our country – for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for our Overseas Territories like Gibraltar, and also for the Crown Dependencies.
“This deal will do that.”
The Prime Minister’s claim to have delivered for Northern Ireland and British Overseas Territories such as Gibraltar, a city at the southern tip of Spain which has been under British jurisdiction since the 1700s and rejected “co-sovereignty” with Madrid by 99 percent in a 2002 referendum, have also raised eyebrows.
The special obligations to follow extra rules which the backstop imposes on Northern Ireland have infiated the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which she relies on for a working parliamentary majority, as it would leave the Irish Republic, through its voice within the EU’s institutions, with more of a voice over certain Northern Irish matters than either London or the regional government in Belfast, and undermine the Province’s place within the wider United Kingdom economy.
The Prime Minister of Spain has also claimed that Theresa May has accepted conditions “imposed” by his government on Gibraltar’s future relationship with the European Union, effectively requiring British Overseas Territory to go through Madrid on all EU-related matters.
“On 29 March next year, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.
“We will then begin a new chapter in our national life. I want that to be a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country.
“It must mark the point when we put aside the labels of ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ for good and we come together again as one people.
“To do that, we need to get on with Brexit now by getting behind this deal.
“Parliament will have the chance to do that in a few weeks’ time when it has a meaningful vote on the deal I hope to strike today.
“I will be campaigning with my heart and soul to win that vote and to deliver this Brexit deal, for the good of our United Kingdom and all of our people.”
Singing from the same hymn sheet?
Juncker: “…this is the only deal possible.”
May: "…this is the only possible deal." https://t.co/RQC8fkdTGV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 25, 2018