Bow Group: Leavers Pretending Boris Got a Good Deal Are Kidding Themselves

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Britain’s oldest conservative think tank has highlighted a series of flaws with Boris Johnson’s EU deal, suggesting Leave supporters should not delude themselves about it being a proper Brexit.

The Bow Group, one of the most influential conservative groups in Britain during the Thatcher years but increasingly critical of the Conservative Party as an institution as it has listed left, has released a list of ten major issues with Johnson’s treaty.

Not least of these is the incredibly short time frame given for parliamentarians to examine the details of the agreement, struck on Christmas Eve and rushed through the legislature near-record-breaking time.

There is already some indication that parts of it may have been cobbled together in haste, with one section referring to “modern e-mail software packages” including the defunct Mozilla Mail and Netscape Communicator, seemingly cribbed from outdated legal texts.

The think tank also questions how useful the deal will be in bringing down net immigration, considering some four million EU migrants have been given “settled status” — with over a million more applicants than the government had previously estimated were in the country — and provisions which may allow for the “bypassing [of] VISA restrictions for EU workers here temporarily while working for an EU based employer” in a manner which is “clearly subject to abuse”.

The Bow Group also expressed concern at continued jurisdiction for foreign judges appearing to be baked into the deal, through the guarantees Britain has made to remain subject to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and, as a result, the European Court of Human Rights, and continued involvement in EU military-building via funding of the European Defence Fund through Horizon 2020, which Johnson has opted into.

Fishing, of course, is condemned as a near-total surrender, given Johnson’s agreement that essentially the same quota system which has been used by EU trawlers to strip Britain’s waters while British fishermen have gone to the wall will remain in place for at least five-and-a-half years, with it looking increasingly as though the deal envisions this arrangement being renewed in 2026 rather than ended, despite initial assurances of full sovereignty some day.

The effective economic annexation of the British province of Northern Ireland to the EU, which will enforce its regulatory regime there against the rest of the United Kingdom with its own posted personnel, is also condemned: “There is now a divide down the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

The Bow Group also alleges the deal means “continued regulatory alignment”, a ” lack of control on taxation and subsidy” outside certain parameters, surrender on granting the EU free trade in goods without a comparable deal on trade in services, and an extradition system comparable to the controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

“After 12 months of intense negotiation the EU has penned the deal it is prepared to offer a country that was never prepared to walk away without one,” noted Senior Research Fellow Dr Jon Stanley sadly.

“[T]he battle with Brussels is not over and time taken for Eurosceptics to regroup should be not be wasted,” he warned.

Bow Group chairman Benjamin Harris-Quinney predicted that, “as the detail of this deal comes out, only after it has been passed… opposition to it will grow among Brexiteers.”

“It has become immediately fashionable among the Brexit movement to support this deal, but the Bow Group is never an organisation to get swept up in fashion, we prefer to look at the long term reality,” he explained.

“The reality is that it is a cause of great celebration that after almost five years we are finally leaving the EU, but also that on immigration, on the ability to make our own trade deals, and on sovereignty Brexiteers are not getting what we wanted, however much we want to believe we are,” he added.


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