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Tim Dawson: No, Prime Minister

The Brexit Deal is toxic and almost certainly won’t get through the House of Commons. Of course when we say “Brexit Deal”, we actually mean the withdrawal agreement which precipitates the deal. But the terms in our national conversation have become interchangeable – and it’s all part of the same extremely unpalatable Brexit-In-Name-Only stew.

Mrs. May has shown herself studiedly deaf to the desires of Brexiteers and the great opportunities of leaving the European Union. She and her government have convinced themselves the vote was simply about immigration, as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd let slip on twitter over the weekend.

Yes, immigration is part of it, in so far as the UK should be able to set its own immigration policy rather than have it dictated to it by Brussels (we’ll be running a piece on post-Brexit immigration later in the week). But leaving the EU was always about so much more than that. It was about restoring our sovereignty and self-determination: and that meant true control of our law, money and borders. The government’s plan simply does not deliver that.

Brexiteers have explained time and time again what leaving the EU must look like and the opportunities it presents. It was never the insular project Remainers insist it is. Brexiteers are outward facing and globally aspirant. Remainers – still, incredibly – cannot see beyond Brussels and the European Union’s dystopian, expensive bureaucracy.

It is telling that no prominent Brexiteers are able to support Mrs. May’s Deal. Across the party political divide, believers in an independent United Kingdom are lining up to reject this sour, misrerabilist concoction. And it’s not just politicians who are rejecting it. Brexiteers at every level are outraged and disappointed.

However, we must not give in. Theresa May is attempting to convince the country – and Parliament – that her approach is the only one that will allow the United Kingdom to move on. This is emphatically not the case. Indeed, because it does not deliver on the referendum, her plan will ensure we’re debating Brexit for decades to come.

As Boris Johnson wrote today,

“For the last two and a half years, the European Commission has been telling us that Brexit was a mistake, that we would regret it, that we would be worse off – and in private they have been amazed at the willingness of the British negotiators to prove them right.

Time after time we have folded like napkins – capitulating long before we were expected to do so.”

It’s time to stop capitulating. This “deal” must be rejected. A lot can be achieved in the next four months. So let’s get started.