This week we will see The European Council meeting take place, which was seen as the meeting where an agreement between the EU and the UK could be reached. Contrary to some media reports, there was no agreement that Dominic Raab was due to sign last Sunday and indeed it is not known if an agreement will be reached this week. What is clear is that it is time for ‘cool, calm heads’ as the UK Government heads into the last few weeks of negotiations to leave the EU.
The Government is still trying to secure a good deal with the EU as this is not just in our interests but also that of the EU. The UK does, though, need to remain resolute.
One of the major sticking points is the so-called ‘backstop’ for Northern Ireland. This is intended to cover the period between the end of the implementation period and the beginning of our future trading agreement with the EU.
One suggested idea is that Northern Ireland could stay in the Customs Union, whilst the rest of the UK does not. This would effectively create a border in the Irish Sea and customs controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This would divide our Union and therefore must be resisted. Spain would not accept Catalonia being separated from the rest of Spain and the same goes for France and the Basque country so we should not accept a division of our Union. The alternative is that the whole of the UK remains in the Customs Union, but the Government has insisted this cannot be indefinite and an end date would have to be set out. This is something the EU negotiators have refused.
As most people know, I campaigned for Brexit and the majority of people in Dartford voted to leave the European Union. I remain convinced our future is best served outside the EU.
The EU cannot expect us to break up the integrity of the United Kingdom, nor expect us to remain tied to an indefinite customs union. Remaining in the Customs Union would prevent us from negotiating trade deals around the world which will be one of the biggest benefits from leaving the EU.
It is also essential we leave the Single Market, because to remain in it would keep free movement. Many people who voted to leave the EU did so to ensure we could take back control of our borders.
Undoubtedly, the preferred option for the UK is to have a negotiated settlement but this should not be at any price. Underlying the whole negotiation is the fact that the EU does not want it to appear that member countries are better off outside the EU, yet that’s exactly what the UK is striving to achieve.
I do not agree with those who say we should sign a deal with the EU no matter what it says. Those people are effectively waving a white flag at the EU negotiators. Whilst we do want to obtain a deal that works for the UK, I still maintain we shouldn’t fear a ‘no deal’ scenario.