Parliament reveals the terms Theresa May’s Brexit deal will be judged against

The Brexit Select Committee have just outlined how the public and Parliament can test the Tories' Brexit deal. If she fails, a 'People's Vote' is on the cards...

In January last year, Britain’s chief Brexit Minister David Davis promised Parliament we will have “the exact same benefits” in European trade that we have now when we leave the EU.

That pledge (later backtracked on) is getting more impossible by the day – and a key Parliamentary committee has shown why.

The House of Commons’s powerful Brexit committee has just published its report on the future UK-EU relationship. In it, they set out a series of tests by which any deal struck with the EU this October should be judged.

It looks remarkably like…ahem…a cooperation model we use now:

  • No physical infrastructure or any related checks and controls in Ireland
  • The UK must retain involvement with Europol and the European Arrest Warrant [and full terrorism/crime cooperation]
  • The UK must be fully able to participate in foreign and security co-operation with the EU
  • No tariffs on trade in goods between the UK and the EU 27 – and no additional border or rules of origin checks that would delay the delivery of perishable or time-sensitive deliveries or impede cross-border supply chains
  • No additional costs to businesses that trade in goods or services
  • Finance and broadcasting services must be able to continue to sell their products into EU markets as at present
  • Automatic rights for UK services to trade in EU, and mutual recognition of regulatory standards
  • No impediments to the free flow of data between the UK and the EU
  • No impediments to the movement of workers providing services across borders or to the recognition of their qualifications and their right to practise
  • Full convergence with EU regulations in all relevant areas in order to maximise access to European markets
  • Full participation in the European Medicines Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and in other agencies where there is a benefit to continuing co-operation – and all the key academic/learning cooperation schemes (Erasmus, Horizon 2020 etc)
  • Maximum access to European markets while agreeing reciprocal access to waters (but on better terms for the UK..)

In other words – we must have a deal which gives us all the benefits of being in the EU…with none of the responsibilities.

Best for Britain CEO Eloise Todd said the tests of the report strengthen the case for a ‘People’s Vote’ on the deal:

“If the terms of Brexit cannot pass the tests set out this morning by the committee, it will only add to the growing appetite up and down the country for the public’s voice to be heard.”

Chris Leslie MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The government’s promise to secure a Brexit deal that secures the ‘exact same benefits’ as we have within the EU looks as far away as ever: their ludicrous red lines on leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union make this outcome impossible.

“With complicated issues like the Northern Ireland border still nowhere near being resolved, and with the health of our economy and public services like the NHS at stake, the risks and costs of Brexit are growing by the day.

“If the final Brexit deal doesn’t match up to the promises made during the referendum, then everyone is entitled to keep an open mind about whether it’s the right path for the country.”

The Brexit Select Committee’s new tests set a high bar for May to reach. And fair enough: the government wants all the benefits of the EU with none of the obligations. In other words, having their cake and eating it.

We have a feeling they might go hungry…

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

Read the full report.

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