On Sunday David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary. On Monday Boris Johnson resigned as foreign secretary. At Wednesday’s meeting of the influential tory 1922 committee, there was no attempted coup against Theresa May. So with May still in a job, no general election on the near horizon, and a new negotiating position decided, where is our country going?
Last Friday after a day of closed-door meetings at the PM’s country home, Chequers, the cabinet agreed on a new negotiating position for the closing months of the Brexit talks. The new plan would allow for UK and EU courts to have a ‘joint institutional framework’ whereby issues affecting both partners will be decided in a fair and equitable way. The UK would maintain a ‘common rulebook’ on EU regulations on consumer and agricultural goods. EU and UK territories would exist as a joint customs area, therefore ending the uncertainty surrounding the Northern Irish border. Whilst ending free movement, the UK and the EU would establish a new framework for allowing fast-paced applications for UK-EU travel.
For those on the Brexit wing on the conservative, this is a weak plan which kowtows to remainers and the megalithic EU machine. Johnson described the plan as a ‘big turd’ and claimed that promoting the plans would be ‘polishing a turd’. In his resignation letter, Davis warned that he was ‘unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions.’
On the remain side and the government side, it has been claimed that the deal will honour the referendum result whilst protecting UK interests. The deal will also stop UK payments into the EU budget and allow the UK to form independent bi-lateral free trade deals.
Over at Corbyn towers, Labour is coming down hard on the infighting and chaos in the May regime. However, many in the party support the new soft-Brexit approach. Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the government that ‘socialist votes’ would be required to get the deal through parliament.
All of this is based on the idea of the EU accepting the deal. The government proposals clearly breach the EU’s negotiating red lines and violate the joint freedoms of the single market. If this deal fails then the UK is at serious risk of crashing out of the EU next March with no deal. Unless David Davis was right and Mrs May will just fall in line with what the EU tell her to and Johnson will be right in saying the ‘Brexit dream is dying.’