Brexiteer: 60 MPs Will Vote Against Any Renegotiated EU Treaty

Pro-Brexit activists protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London on December 11, 2018. - British Prime Minister Theresa May began a humiliating European tour on Tuesday in a desperate bid to salvage her Brexit deal, a day after delaying a parliamentary vote on the text to avoid a crushing …
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The vice chairman of the influential European Research Group has said that there are enough backbench Tory MPs to vote down any future attempts to pass the EU’s withdrawal treaty.

Mark Francois told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast that the Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Bill is still problematic for Brexit Britain even if Prime Minister Boris Johnson manages to have the controversial Irish backstop removed, and called for the treaty to be scrapped altogether.

The Brexiteer MP told Christopher Hope that even if the near-200 pages were excised from the 585-page withdrawal treaty, “There are too many other things that are wrong with it.”

“I don’t think you can revive the withdrawal agreement realistically even if you took the backstop out,” Mr Francois said.

“You’ve still got the matter of the £39 billion, but you’ve also got other important problems, something called Article 174 about the continuing power of the ECJ [European Court of Justice] to oversee the whole agreement. Basically, they have the final say so they can overrule, in effect, the United Kingdom,” he added.

The Brexiteer also warned of “one of the most rancid bits” of the withdrawal treaty: the Joint Committee, which “means in a nutshell is that two senior civil servants — one UK and one EU — by exchanging letters could effectively make law above the heads of parliament”.

The ERG vice chairman, however, doubts that the EU would accept removing the backstop but suggested that there would be “more than enough” MPs to vote against the bill in a fourth vote “that it didn’t go through”, with The Telegraph understanding there to be around 60 such MPs.

Mr Francois had said that prior to the first round of parliamentary voting to nominate the new party leader, Mr Johnson had met with the ERG and was “very clear in that meeting that the withdrawal agreement was dead”.

“He was absolutely emphatic about it, so we took him at his word,” Mr Francois added.

The strong opposition to Mr Johnson possibly achieving a renegotiation on the backstop comes after the prime minister suggested that if a new treaty is agreed, the UK may remain in the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market until 2021.

During his visit to Wales on Tuesday, Prime Minister Johnson said: “Some of the (No Deal) changes that are going to be necessary in the run-up to October 31 will be crucial anyway if we are going to come out of the Customs Union and Single Market, as we must, in the course of the next couple of years.”

Mr Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU on October 31st with or without a deal. In the past week, the prime minister has ramped up preparations for a clean exit, and announced that he would not be sitting down with European leaders to discuss Brexit unless they were willing to reopen negotiations.

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