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Getting Brexit Done (again)!

June 16, 2021 12:02 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

UK & EU flags

The Conservative press has been full of stories during the G7 summit of French intransigence and lack of pragmatism over the UKs desire to change the Northern Ireland protocol. Despite all the bluster and attempts to divert attention and 'blame the bloody French' we are left with the hard fact that the deal agreed by Mr Johnson was the one that Theresa May had said no British Prime Minister could ever sign when she ruled out a border in the Irish Sea.

There are therefore only two conclusions that can be drawn about how we got into the present bind.


1. The Prime Minister went into the agreement without understanding what he was signing up to.


2. The Prime Minister did understand but had no intention of honouring his agreement.

You can choose either one. Neither gives you confidence in his abilities to protect the international reputation of the UK. Threatening to break an agreement signed less than 18 months ago will not build trust with potential new trading partners around the world.

To protect the Good Friday agreement you can either have a border in the Irish Sea with its consequent impact on GB and Northern Ireland or you agree similar food standards so that checks are unnecessary (the route proposed by Mrs May). Quoting "sovereignty" the current government has rejected common standards since this would rule out hormone fed beef and the like, something which would prevent trade deals with Australia and potentially the US (although ironically there will be no US deal if the Good Friday agreement isn't honoured!).

Unless the Government back down from our hard negotiating position of threatening to ignore provisions in the Protocol, we risk trade sanctions being applied to the UK. With trade already down 15% with Europe as a consequence of current bureaucracy associated with the main deal, any further restrictions risk a real impact on activity and jobs.

The Liberal Democrats voted against the deal, we said it was bad for the UK at the time. We still believe a deal which seeks minimal alignment with European standards, is wrong.

The Labour Party voted in favour of it and have since tried to avoid talking about it. They have said they would not seek to renegotiate any of the current deal. Their leader Mr Starmer said yesterday "Having checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not the way forward. Having any checks between the Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely not the way forward. So we need to make some real progress. There's probably going to have to be flexibility on both sides, as ever."

Talk about having your cake and eating it. He doesn't want to change anything but at the same time calls for flexibility!

The Prime Minister sold the country a false vision of getting Brexit done. It was a mirage. We will need to get it done again and again!