All Leave-backers on the Brexit Select Committee reject its new anti-Brexit report

All Leave-backers on the Brexit Select Committee reject its new anti-Brexit report

The Brexit Select Committee’s new report out today, which suggests the Government seek to remain inside the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, failed to receive any backing from Brexit-supporting members of the committee.

The report, The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal: December 2017 to March 2018, says there will be a hard border in Northern Ireland without Customs Union and Single Market membership and calls on the Government to extend the transition period if necessary.

The Committee, chaired by Labour Remainer Hilary Benn, is split between 14 MPs who backed Remain and 7 who backed Leave at the referendum – but the report published today was only endorsed by Remainers and rejected by all 7 Brexiteers.

The anti-Brexit findings led to Leave supporters on the committee producing their own minority report.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who sits on the committee, told BrexitCentral:

“Select Committee reports are powerful when they cross a divide, but this report was a defeatist re-run of the Remain campaign, backed by Remainers.

“We [the Leavers on the committee] put out a minority report, which is unusual for select committees. We drew on some of the evidence in the Chairman’s draft but looked at further evidence and drew our own conclusions.”

“Essentially, our report accepted the result of the referendum.”

The original document concludes that the Government does not have enough time during the transition to get a ‘”full, bespoke trade and market access agreement” and Remainers on the committee attack the Government for failing to set out the “precise terms” it wants for the transition period.

The report also concludes: “We cannot see how it will be possible to maintain an open border with no checks and no infrastructure if the UK leaves the Customs Union and the Single Market.”

But the minority report criticises the EU for failing to see solutions that could exist on the Irish border and includes evidence from Jon Thompson, the Chief Executive of HMRC, who said a streamlined customs arrangement could “cover the vast majority of the trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland” and that any checks could be “intelligence-based” and “well away from the legal border”.

It also concludes that the EU took too long to offer a similar arrangement to the one Theresa May offered EU citizens in July 2016 and credits the Prime Minister for being close to an agreement on citizens’ rights.