Brexiteer MPs Back WTO Exit, Plan to Reject May’s Soft Brexit Deal

Activists hold up placards from the Leave Means Leave Pro-Brexit campaign group outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Janaury 8, 2019. - British MPs are set to hold a critical vote on January 15 on the Brexit agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May, her spokesman said on …
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty

A number of pro-Brexit MPs have come out and said they will vote down Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement and dismantled “No Deal” scaremongering over a World Trade Organization (WTO) exit.

Brexiteer Tory MP and chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Jacob Rees-Mogg led the charge for a WTO exit on Tuesday morning, telling Good Morning Britain that a so-called “No Deal” Brexit was an “exciting opportunity.”

“Global growth is outside of the European Union. Germany is tipping into recession pretty much as we speak. The euro project has condemned areas of Europe to very high levels of unemployment. It has been an economic failure. Releasing ourselves from the links to a failed economic project is a real economic boon,” the Brexiteer said.

Mr Rees-Mogg challenged the suggestion that leaving without a deal would result in a loss of trade, saying there is no reason “at all” for the United Kingdom to impose tariffs on incoming EU goods, but a WTO exit provides “an opportunity to reduce tariffs and tariff barriers to goods from around the world.”

Former Brexit secretary David Davis told a press conference in central London that the prime minister’s agreement could “ruin” future post-Brexit trade deals, but said that “There’s an opportunity to win a brighter and better future not just to see off a difficult present. ”

“No deal is not one to be feared and not the Armageddon,” Mr Davis said, adding, “The current deal leaves no protection against never-ending backstop and therefore customs union.

“It concedes everything to the EU, including £39 billion, and ruins our negotiating for the next stage. If this goes through the EU will get everything it wants in the next stage and we will not get anything,” David continued.

“That’s because the Government has been driven by largely irrational fears.”

Fellow Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told television journalist Adam Boulton on Sky News that he will be voting against the Withdrawal Agreement, saying that the only way to deliver on the mandate given in Parliament by the British people “is to leave on WTO and immediately offer the EU talks on a free trade agreement.”

“Under WTO rules, we can then have ten years of tariff- and quota-free trade with the European Union while we negotiate that free trade agreement,” Mr Bridgen said.

MPs will be voting on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday evening, with the document largely expected to be voted against. In the result of such a vote, the default legal position is that Britain leaves the EU on March 29th without a deal and trades with the bloc on WTO terms — with EU loyalists decrying that the Brexit process should be suspended or stopped entirely rather than Britain make a clean break from the EU.

A piece for The Times on Tuesday morning claimed that contrary to calls from Remainers that Article 50 — the treaty mechanism for leaving the EU — be suspended in the event of the Withdrawal Agreement being voted down, a temporary revocation of the mechanism had been ruled out by EU judges in early December.

“The EU is not stupid. If Britain wants to revoke then the European Council will want a clear commitment, in good faith, that it is going to remain in the EU,” remarked a senior official.

In other words, Article 50 could not be revoked and then reinvoked for the purposes of buying more time for negotiation — revocation would mean confirming Britain’s status as an EU member-state for the forseeable future.

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