Tim Dawson: There is an alternative, better plan

The EU has just signed a Free Trade Agreement with Japan. Extraordinary, you’re thinking – how did Japan do this without signing up to an EU army or accepting Freedom of Movement? How has it survived for all these years without EU-produced medicine or special access to those Spanish oranges which are no better than American oranges? As Mrs May returns from another humiliating trip to Brussels, it’s important to remember that there is an alternative to the government’s half-hearted negotiation. A better plan, centred around free trade and free markets.

David Davis and Dominic Raab – former Brexit secretaries, who should have been allowed to spearhead these negotiations but were not – along with leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, unveiled this new approach on Wednesday. The plan – called ‘A Better Deal’ – also has the support of Shailesh Vara, the former Northern Ireland minister and Remain campaigner who has publicly insisted the government must now devote itself to securing a proper Brexit in line with the expectations of Brexiteers.

The plan retains aspects of Mrs. May’s approach, whilst seeking to mitigate the many ‘poison pills’.

Crucially, the document proposes:

  • No single customs territory between the EU and the UK, thereby ensuring we enjoy the freedoms necessary to secure our own trade deals;
  • The implementation of advanced technological customs measures to resolve the issue of the Irish border;
  • A zero tariff free trade agreement in goods;
  • The deletion of language on World Trade Organisation collaboration, making sure the UK can take full advantage of its WTO membership.

Legal advice has confirmed that if we were to proceed with the Northern Irish backstop as offered by Mrs. May and the government, it would effectively divide up the United Kingdom and we would have no legal mechanism to withdraw from it – almost certainly trapping us in the EU forever.

The is a serious plan, formulated from agreements already in place between the EU and Canada and the EU and New Zealand.

We hope the government will adopt it in, to quote Mrs May, the national interest.

Tim Dawson is the Editor of Britain’s Future. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson