UK Must ‘Break Free’ from EU Divorce Agreement, Says Think Tank

TOPSHOT - Pro-Brexit activists march outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on February 27, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May will today face a vote by MPs over her newly revised Brexit strategy, which allows for a possible request to delay Britain's EU departure if her divorce deal …

A think tank has said that Boris Johnson should rip up the EU-approved withdrawal agreement, as it would still leave the European Union with too much control.

The withdrawal agreement, signed in January 2020, leaves Brussels with having too much say over issues including state aid and British laws, according to the Centre for Brexit Policy, which campaigns for a “real” Brexit, where the UK regains full control of her laws, courts, borders, and trade policy without condition.

The think tank is reportedly backed by several key lawmakers across the political spectrum. Its director-general John Longworth said in comments reported by Reuters: “Deeply embedded in the Withdrawal Agreement are sweeping powers for the EU over much of our commercial and national life.”

“The prospect of the European Court of Justice and the European Commission continuing to issue orders to the UK and endless legal wrangling truly means we face a nightmare on Brexit street unless we break free from their clutches at the 11th hour,” Mr Longworth added.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had also advised Prime Minister Johnson to drop the withdrawal agreement. He said before the document was even signed that it “is not Brexit” and “will never free us completely from the European Court of Justice”.

London and Brussels are set to enter the final stage of talks on Tuesday. The Telegraph reported that the UK’s chief negotiator Lord David Frost said that discussions had been “relatively positive”, hinting at progress between the two parties, and suggested that the bloc had reversed some of its earlier “unrealistic ambitions”.

State aid — rules regarding the state’s ability to support British businesses in a manner which could distort competition — and access to British territorial fishing waters have been two red lines that neither the UK nor EU had wanted to cross. However, sources speaking to The Sun said that the EU had given ground on its fishing demands.

But Lord Frost had also maintained that the EU still needs to be more “realistic” in some areas of debate.

Frost said, according to The Sunday Times: “An agreement is still very much possible, but equally very far from certain. The last two weeks of informal talks have been relatively positive, but there remains much to be done and time is short.

“We have been saying from the beginning of this process that we simply want a standard free trade agreement like Canada’s. Sadly the EU’s position has not been so straightforward and we continue to be asked to accept provisions which do not reflect the reality of the change which our exit from the EU brings.

“If the gaps in these areas are to be bridged, the EU still needs to scale back more of its unrealistic ambitions and work on more realistic policy positions. I hope this will be possible this coming week and I and my team are ready to work as hard as necessary to move things forward.”

The UK officially left the EU on January 31st, 2020, but remains in a transition period — still tied to EU rules — until December 31st, 2020. The prime minister has recently pledged that he will withdraw from negotiations with the bloc and prepare for a clean break if a deal is not agreed on by October 15th.


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