The Government has been struggling since July to unite the various elements of Brexit behind its vision. The Chequers proposal has been vilified by Brexiteer and Remainer MPs, the British public, think tanks and the European Union.
This has only been highlighted by a poll that was released this morning in the Telegraph, which highlighted that voters in the Conservatives’ 44 most marginal seats are “dissatisfied” with the Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations.
The concerns are that the Chequers proposal does little to honour the vote of the British people; it leaves the UK tied to the rules and regulations of the EU with little-to-no say on their implementation and keeps us under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Many, it seems, are scratching their heads and asking, if this is the best the Government could come up with, then what was the point of leaving the EU at all?
We have seen, a string of high profile MPs including David Davis, Boris Johnson and Justine Greening now dismiss Chequers, calling for a new plan before it’s too late.
However, let’s not forget that Chequers was not the only plan available to the Government. Prior to July, the indication from the Government was that we were aiming for a completely independent country; free from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and free from the regulatory rules that bind the EU27.
In her first major Brexit speech at Lancaster House in 2017, the Prime Minister stressed that judicial independence is a crucial element in delivering what the British people voted for. Although she said British courts would look at the rulings of the European Court of Justice, they would not be tied to them. For, as Mrs May said, “we would not have truly left the European Union unless have control over our own laws.”
Barely 6 months ago, the Prime Minister too re-asserted her commitment to giving British businesses independence from the EU. At Mansion House in March this year, Mrs May said that whilst of course we must ensure our regulatory standards remain as high as the EU’s, “our default is that UK law may not necessarily be identical to EU law, but it should achieve the same outcomes.”
Yet now that such a plan has been abandoned by the Government, it’s now crucial to look at what option is available to the Government that best delivers the Brexit vote; that is the independence and freedom to control our borders, our laws and our money.
First and foremost whilst many dread the idea of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the language around this situation is misleading. A no deal Brexit, simply means no trade deal with the EU, where we move back towards a default position on WTO terms.
Should we leave the EU with no trade deal, we would be provided with the opportunity to immediately negotiate and sign our own free trade agreements with countries like the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. We would have the chance to join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and focus our attention on growing economies. In fact, this default position is how the United States has been able to negotiate a trade deal with the EU.
We do not become a lawless state floating as an isolated island should we leave with no deal. We have already passed legislation that means that no matter what happens, all of our laws remain the same. We just from that point onward, have a chance to become what the Prime Minister has also asserted; a “cradle of innovation; a leader in the industries of the future, a champion for free trade, based on high stands; a modern, outward-looking, tolerant country, proud of our values and confident of our place in the world.”
Remember that whilst we may have strayed from the initial path, it is not too late to deliver the Brexit the British people voted for. This is our chance to fully embrace our future and become a truly global and independent Britain.