Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement is not a shaming surrender to the European Union; it will deliver meaningful Brexit. So says Conservative MEP Dan Hannan, who believes criticisms of Boris’s deal by hardline Brexiteers are misplaced.
Speaking exclusively to Breitbart London from his Brussels office at the European Parliament, he said:
A lot of the criticisms are about Theresa May’s deal and don’t really reflect the changes that have been made since. Boris’s deal brings back legal supremacy. It means British law now has primacy over EU law. It brings back control of our taxation, control of our budgets, it brings back control of our farming, our fishing, our regional policy, our industrial policy.
And, crucially – a huge difference from Theresa May’s version – trade policy. We can do trade deals with the U.S., China, India, the bits of the world that are growing faster than the EU. It does all of those things in a way that maintains cordial relations with our nearest neighbours.”
What about concerns that Britain’s territorial rights to its fisheries will be sacrificed?
“The deal on fisheries is very clear. At the end of the Transition Period – the end of 2020 – we become a Coastal State which means we are in the same legal category as Norway or Iceland. So we become sovereign over our fishing grounds out to 200 miles or the median line provided for under maritime law. Of course we will then want to have deals with the EU, just like Norway, just like Iceland because all these countries that share the North Sea have to have the same arrangements with regards to total allowable catch, so that they all have a renewable resource in their waters.”
And the European Court of Justice?
“The ECJ will only have one residual, lingering role: arbitrating the rights of EU nationals who were already in Britain before the cut off point. In practical terms it’s not going to make much difference.”
So what does worry Hannan about Boris’s deal?
“Obviously the objectionable bit of it, the big con, the big negative is Northern Ireland being kept in the Single Market and large elements of the Customs Union. We can ameliorate that over time but it is a suboptimal situation. As a country our goal should be to be so obviously successful, so much more prosperous than the EU that the NI authorities [which have ultimate say on this issue] note to be part of a UK Customs Union rather than an EU one.”
Watch: Daniel Hannan: Boris Johnson is Very CleverJames Delingpole
Hannan, who has been fighting for Britain to leave the EU since he was an Oxford undergraduate in 1990 and who was a key player in the Vote Leave campaign, can reasonably be described as one of the architects of Brexit. His approval of Boris’s deal carries some weight because, though he is a member of the same party, he has long been one of its more independent and outspoken members. Unlike the rump of Boris’s One Nation Conservatives, Hannan considers himself to sit on the libertarian right of the party.
Is he not worried that Boris’s ‘One Nation’ tendencies will make him another Conservative-in-name-only in the manner of his predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May?
There are two reasons why every conservative of whatever hue – from libertarian to Burkean to squishy centrist – should vote for Boris, Hannan argues.
First, this is an emergency:
“Boris is up against a Marxist who hates this country…”
Second, Boris is an exceptionally clever man who has accumulated many talents in his administration.
“He’s clever in that within two words of your sentence he knows where you are going. He is a brilliant delegator. Look at who he has let in at every level: Cabinet, Special Advisors, No. 10 Staff – my God, what an improvement on his predecessor! We have got really good, crack people in place. I have every confidence that with that team we will see a huge shift in the balance from state to citizen and from public to private sector.”
Finally, in keeping with his oft-repeated claim that ‘nothing escapes Shakespeare’, Hannan tells us what he thinks the Bard can tell us about Boris Johnson.
The obvious comparison, Hannan argues, is the moment in Henry IV Part II when Prince Hal casts off his youthful drunkenness, frivolity and bad company – and reinvents himself as the powerful, ruthless and determined King – Henry V – who defeated the French at Agincourt.
Watch: Daniel Hannan: Shakespeare Wrote a Whole Play About Boris JohnsonJames Delingpole