British Govt Appears to REJECT Petition for ‘No Deal’ Brexit

Brexit
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

The British government has seemingly rejected an official petition for the United Kingdom to make a clean break from the European Union on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms — “No Deal” — despite Theresa May’s previous warning to the EU that she believes “No deal is better than a bad deal”.

The petition, which has rapidly amassed over 85,000 signatures as of Saturday afternoon, December 15th, complains the United Kingdom is “wasting Billions of pounds of taxpayers money trying to negotiate in a short space of time [sic]”, and suggests it would be better to make a clean break from the bloc and negotiate a deal from the outside as a third-party country, like Japan has.

“The EU will be more eager to accept a deal on our terms having lost a major partner,” the petition writer argues.

However, the Government — which once agreed that “No deal is better than a bad deal” — appears adamant that Theresa May’s “worst deal in history” with Brussels will remain its focus, despite the fact it clearly lacks the parliamentary support necessary to ratify it.

“The deal that we have reached with the EU is the right one for the United Kingdom,” the reply from the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) insists.

“Leaving without a deal would risk uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens.”

DExEU’s first Secretary of State, David Davis, and his successor Dominic Raab, both took a very different view, resigning from Theresa May’s government on the grounds that the deal — allegedly negotiated in outline behind the former’s back and sprung on the latter in its final form without notice — delivers Brexit “in name only”.

Current boss Stephen Barclay is an obscure and unheralded figure, described as a Brexiteer but little noticed during the EU referendum, and with a remit drastically less expansive than either of his predecessors.

Contentiously, Barclay’s DExEU argues in its petition response that the deal “preserves the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom” — but the provisions in its so-called backstop actually arrange for Northern Ireland to be effectively annexed to the EU’s Customs Union and regulatory regime, with the Great British mainland being incorporated into a parallel “single customs territory” under EU control, and new checks introduced between Britain’s Home Nations “down the Irish Sea”.

This, more than anything else, is the reason Theresa May has been unable to get her deal through Parliament, with dozens of her backbench MPs and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — which her minority administration relies on for a parliamentary majority — joining the left-wing opposition parties in vowing to vote it down.

Remainers within Mrs May’s Cabinet do, in fact, seem more likely to back calls to re-run of the 2016 referendum to break the impasse than get behind a “No Deal”.

This is despite the fact an official response to another petition urging the Government to rule out a so-called “People’s Vote” — dubbed a “Losers’ Vote” or “Soros Vote” by critics — clearly promises that the public will not be forced to “try again”, and that their original vote will be respected.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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