PRIME MINISTER'S STATEMENT:
THE CHOICE TODAY
MPs face a fundamental choice today:
· back the improved Brexit deal on offer; or
risk a delay that:
➢ would mean months more arguing about Brexit, prolonging the current uncertainty;
➢ would pass control to Brussels; and could lead to no Brexit.
The case for backing the improved Brexit deal
It may not be everyone’s perfect version of Brexit - it can’t be when there are so many views on what that entails - but we have won some important changes since 29th January. We have secured legally binding changes, with comparable legal weight to the Withdrawal Agreement, to reduce the risk that the EU could deliberately keep the UK in the backstop indefinitely and to work to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by December 2020. We will also make a Unilateral Declaration that if the backstop comes into use and discussions on our future relationship break down so that there is no prospect of subsequent agreement due to the EU breaching its obligations, it is the position of the United Kingdom that there would be nothing to prevent the UK instigating measures that could ultimately dis-apply the backstop.
We’ve also made additional commitments on workers’ rights and environmental protections.
It delivers what the British people voted for:
● We will take back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
● We will take back control of our borders, ending free movement and delivering a skills-based immigration system.
● We will take back control of our money, no longer sending vast sums of money to the EU and instead spending it on our priorities like investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.
● We will take back control of our trade policy, enabling us to strike free trade deals with countries all over the world.
It will help keep our United Kingdom together. Polling shows that support for Scottish independence and a united Ireland would be higher if we leave without a deal.
It will be good for our economy. Forecasts show that backing the deal would deliver a ‘deal dividend’ with increased business investment boosting economic growth, which will be good for jobs and mean more money is available for public services.
It will help keep us safe from crime, terrorism and other threats through a close security partnership with the EU.
Backing the improved deal on offer today will mean we can move on to all the other issues the British people care about like improving our NHS and schools, building the homes this country needs, reducing crime and protecting our environment so we can build a better future for the whole country.
The risk of delay
This is not like the previous meaningful vote - the EU has been clear there will be
no further negotiations or concessions. This is the moment of decision.
If MPs reject the deal today, they could then reject leaving with no deal on
29th March and delay Brexit for who knows how long.
That means we would spend months more arguing about Brexit when we could be
focusing on the other issues the British people care about.
The prolonged uncertainty would be bad for our economy, threatening jobs and investment.
Delay would pass control to the EU. Any extension to Article 50 needs the consent of all 27 Member States. They would decide how long an extension to offer and they could impose conditions. They have already said they would only agree to a delay if it is clear what it is for - in other words, if we changed our policy in some way. So delay would risk a softer Brexit e.g. a customs union, a second referendum (which could result in no Brexit) or both.
Equally, there’s a risk that having voted for a delay MPs still wouldn’t be able to agree a way forward and we would end up leaving without a deal.
However we voted in the referendum, now is the time to come together. Now is the time to get this done by backing the improved deal on offer.
There are three elements to the package the Government has published today.
1. Instrument relating to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and the Northern Ireland Protocol
The joint instrument is a legally binding text, which outlines several key new commitments in relation to the backstop, and the alternative arrangements to replace it. It also puts the assurances provided in the January letter from Presidents Tusk and Juncker to the Prime Minister onto a firm legal footing.
On the backstop, the instrument provides a new, concrete legal commitment that the EU cannot act with the intent of applying the backstop indefinitely. To do so would breach the obligations in the WA and could be challenged through arbitration. And if the EU was found to be in breach, the UK could ultimately suspend the backstop - with that suspension lasting unless and until the EU came into compliance.
The instrument confirms that alternative arrangements are not required to replicate the backstop in any respect, providing the underlying objectives are met.
It contains a number of commitments on how the UK and EU intend to deliver the alternative arrangements.
Immediately after the ratification of the WA, we will establish a specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements, focused on replacing the elements of the existing backstop that relate to customs and regulatory alignment.
The progress on the future relationship and alternative arrangements will be considered by the UK and the EU at least every 6 months and if there are any obstacles or delays the UK will be immediately able to convene additional conferences to unblock these. Once the alternative arrangements are agreed, they will be put into place rapidly, with provisional application where relevant.
The instrument also entrenches in legally-binding form the commitments made in the exchange of letters in January by Presidents Tusk and Juncker to the Prime Minister, including: the meaning of best endeavours; the need for negotiations to be taken forward urgently; and confirming the assurances made to the people of Northern Ireland, such as on NI Executive representation in the Joint Committee.
2. Unilateral declaration
The unilateral declaration would sit alongside the joint instrument. It makes clear the UK’s understanding of the temporary nature of the Protocol.
The declaration clarifies what the UK could do if it was not possible to conclude an agreement which superseded the Protocol, because the EU had acted contrary to its obligations. In these circumstances, the UK’s understanding is that nothing in the Withdrawal Agreement would prevent it from instigating measures that could ultimately lead to the disapplication of its obligations under the Protocol.
If the UK were to do that, it would remain in full compliance with its obligation to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and to uphold the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in full.
3. Joint statement in relation to the Political Declaration
The joint statement sets out a number of commitments made by the UK and EU to enhance and expedite the process of negotiating and bringing into force the future relationship and provides detail on alternative arrangements.
The statement reiterates that the UK and EU will use their best endeavours, acting in good faith, to negotiate the future relationship - and to have that in place by the end of 2020. To ensure the talks are set up to succeed, it commits the UK and the EU to move swiftly to identify the areas which are likely to require the greatest consideration so that the necessary technical preparations can be made on both sides, and to draw up a full schedule for the negotiations.
The UK and EU confirm that there will be a specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements, established at the outset of negotiations, to lead the analysis and development of them. The dedicated track will consider facilitations and technologies - both those currently ready and those that are emerging. The UK’s position will be informed by the three domestic groups announced last week - for technical experts, MPs, and businesses and trade unions.
The joint instrument is a legally binding instrument holding a comparable legal weight to the Withdrawal Agreement itself. If there is a dispute between the parties, this instrument would be used by an independent arbitration panel to determine the implications of the WA.
Unilateral declarations once made would have legal status in international law and are commonly used by states alongside the ratification of treaties.
The Attorney’s legal analysis will set out the meaning of both the Instrument and the Unilateral Declaration to Parliament.
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But then came the Attorney General: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/brexit/b ... spartanntp