Theresa Explains 'ABC' of Brexit Deal Loudly & Clearly

Published July 15th, 2018 - 01:19 GMT
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits for the arrival of US President Donald Trump for a meeting at Chequers. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits for the arrival of US President Donald Trump for a meeting at Chequers. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Our Brexit deal for Britain seizes the moment to deliver the democratic decision of the British people and secure a bright new future for our country outside the European Union.

It restores our national sovereignty, so that it is our Government that decides who comes into our country, our Parliaments that make our laws and our courts that enforce them.

It puts an end to the vast membership subscriptions we pay to Brussels, delivering a Brexit dividend to support domestic priorities like our long-term plan for the NHS.

It grasps the opportunities of an independent trade policy, freeing us to forge new trade deals with allies across the world – including America, where President Trumph as made it clear he wants a trade deal and is now confident we will be able to do it.

And it enables us to build the new economic and security partnerships we want to see with the European Union. Because Brexit isn’t about trading with other countries instead of trading with Europe, it is about doing both.

This is the scale of the opportunity before us and my message to the country this weekend is simple: we need to keep our eyes on the prize.

If we don’t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.

This is a time to be practical and pragmatic – backing our plan to get Britain out of the European Union on March 29 next year and delivering for the British people.

I know there are some who have concerns about the ‘common rule book’ for goods and the customs arrangements which we have proposed will underpin the new UK-EU free trade area.

I understand those concerns. But the legacy of Brexit cannot be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland that unpicks the historic Belfast Agreement. It cannot be the breaking up of our precious United Kingdom with a border down the Irish Sea. And it cannot be the destruction of integrated supply chains and just-in-time processes on which jobs and livelihoods depend.

This means we have to have friction-free movement of goods, avoiding the need for customs and regulatory checks between the UK and the EU.

And this cannot happen if products have to go through different tests for different markets, or if customs declarations have to be made at the UK/EU border.

I am yet to see a workable alternative future trading arrangement that would deliver on our commitments to Northern Ireland, preserve the constitutional integrity of the UK and deliver on the result of the referendum.

But our Brexit deal for Britain achieves exactly this – and it can work. For the common rule book only covers industrial goods and agricultural products and only those rules which are necessary to ensure free flow at the border. The regulations that are covered are largely stable and supported by a large share of our manufacturing businesses. And there will always be a parliamentary lock to ensure that our Parliament has the sovereign ability to reject any new law or regulation, while recognising there would be proportionate implications for the operation of the future relationship, were they to do so.

So I believe we need to come together behind our plan.

As the Trade Bill returns to the Commons this week, there are some planning to vote for amendments that would tie us to a permanent customs union with the EU.

This would be the ultimate betrayal of the Brexit vote. It would remove our ability to have an independent trade policy at all, conceding Britain’s role on the global stage as a force for free trade and endangering people’s jobs and livelihoods. This Government will never stand for that.

There are others who are planning to try and bring down a Bill that is essential in enabling us to prepare for life outside the European Union. This would put at risk our ability to make the necessary preparations for a no deal.

And this could lead to a damaging and disorderly Brexit because without this Bill passing we would not be able to retain the benefits of more than 40 existing trade arrangements; and neither will we have the means to protect consumers, industries and workers from being undercut by unfairly traded goods in a post-Brexit Britain.

As I have said many times, we can get a good deal and that is what is best for Britain. But we should also prepare for no deal. Not to do so would be grossly irresponsible. So I urge Parliamentarians on all sides to consider this when they are voting.

Finally, some people have asked whether our Brexit deal is just a starting point from which we will regress. So let me be clear. Our Brexit deal is not some long wish-list from which negotiators get to pick and choose. It is a complete plan with a set of outcomes that are non-negotiable.

People voted to end free movement. So free movement will end. People voted to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in our country; and we are going to deliver that too.

We will leave the Single Market and customs union, and get out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. We will have that independent trade policy and a new UK-EU free trade area with a common rulebook for industrial goods and agricultural products.

We will maintain high standards in keeping with our values, so we continue to promote open and fair trade. We will have that parliamentary lock on all new rules and regulations. We will not tolerate a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland or between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

And we will maintain close co-operation with the EU on security to keep our people safe while ensuring we have our own independent foreign and trade policy. None of these things is up for debate.

So the negotiations with the European Union are not going to be easy for Brussels – and I don’t intend them to be. As President Trump has said, I’m a tough negotiator. And just as I made clear to him on Friday – I say to the British people today: I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest; I am going to fight for it. I am going to fight for our Brexit deal – because it is the right deal for Britain. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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