Eurosceptic Tories react to Brexit deal defeat with proposals for A Better Deal and A Better Future

Eurosceptic Tories react to Brexit deal defeat with proposals for A Better Deal and A Better Future

In the wake of the Government’s draft Withdrawal Agreement being overwhelmingly defeated in the House of Commons, more than twenty senior eurosceptic Conservatives have given their support to a document put together by the former Brexit minister and European Research Group Deputy Chairman, Steve Baker, seeking to set out what the Government needs to do now.

It set outs the written ministerial statement that they believe the Prime Minister should make (as she will be required to do under Section 13 of the
European Union (Withdrawal) Act) and has the support of numerous former Cabinet ministers including David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson, David Jones, Lord Lilley, Esther McVey, Priti Patel, Owen Paterson, Dominic Raab, Theresa Villiers and John Whittingdale.

The publication, A Better Deal and A Better Future, includes a commitment to leave the European Union on schedule and as legislated for on 29th March 2019 and a proposal to work concurrently on two strands:

  1. To present the EU with a legal text of a new EU/UK trade agreement as offered by Donald Tusk on 7th March 2018
  2. To continue with all preparations to leave the EU on WTO terms on 29th March 2019

It proposes that a new Free Trade Plus agreement text should include:

  1. Replacement of the backstop, with a fully worked out Irish border protocol based on an interim FTA and Customs and Trade Facilitation Agreement.
  2. A financial settlement linked to progress towards a trade agreement.
  3. Mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as the fight against terrorism, research, flights, data exchange etc.
  4. Leaving the Common Fisheries policy and negotiating reciprocal access.

The also propose that WTO preparations should include:

  1. Spending a part of the £39bn saved to boost economic growth.
  2. Unilaterally guaranteeing EU citizens’ rights to continue to live and work in the UK.
  3. Measures to reduce the cost of imported agri-food items.
  4. Improving domestic regulation to support competitive markets.
  5. Simultaneous discussions with US, India and China as well as rolling over EU FTAs.
  6. Seek to work multilaterally within the WTO on UK trading goals.

Among the other Tory MPs backing the proposals are Suella Braverman, Sir Bill Cash, Charlie Elphicke, Mark Francois, Marcus Fysh, Sir Bernard Jenkin, Craig Mackinlay, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Tomlinson, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Shailesh Vara.

Baker explains:

“The Commons’ rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration is a great opportunity to aim for a better deal that respects the referendum result and is focused on the UK’s trading priorities. We will offer the EU a better deal and we will be ready to trade on WTO terms with the EU if they decline.

“If we leave on WTO terms, we will no longer be faced with handing over £39bn for little in return, seeing our United Kingdom broken apart or being forced to follow EU laws with no say. This document sets out a firm plan to take up the EU’s March offer of a best-in-class trade agreement respecting UK priorities, the EU’s legal order and allowing the UK to develop a truly independent trade and domestic regulatory policy.

“We have the opportunity to set our own course in the world. This is the right plan to respect the referendum result and prosper.”

You can read the full document for yourself below or by clicking here.