May’s ‘Chequers Agreement’ - one year on

One year ago – the Chequers ‘Remain’ paper, Cabinet resignations


Chequers: © Stephen Simpson

But no move against May

A Brexit Facts4EU.Org reflective – another wasted year

A year ago this past weekend, the May Government entrenched its Remain credentials following a crunch meeting at the Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers. This led to the resignations of Brexit Secretary David Davis, Brexit Minister Steve Baker, and Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary.

The resultant policy paper and succeeding White Paper confirmed the course on which the May Government was set : Brexit in name only, or ‘BRINO’. The agreement between Cabinet members became known simply as ‘Chequers’.

What did ‘Chequers’ say?

  • Leaving in name only on 29 March 2019
  • “An economic and a security partnership with the EU”
  • “The establishment by the UK and the EU of a free trade area for goods”
  • “to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods, including agri-food”
  • “The UK would commit to apply a common rulebook on state aid”
  • “agree to maintain high regulatory standards for the environment, climate change, social and employment, and consumer protection”
  • “due regard paid to EU case law in areas where the UK continued to apply a common rulebook”
  • “the phased introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if a combined customs territory”
  • “apply the UK’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the UK, and the EU’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the EU”
  • “include a mobility framework so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s territories”

All of the above comes from the “STATEMENT FROM HM GOVERNMENT, Chequers, 6 July 2018”. We immediately ran an article in the early hours of Saturday morning.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org

This new policy came from No.10

In one of our articles about all of this a year ago, we made the following observation:

“Unelected civil servant Olly Robbins and his team of Remainers in the ‘Europe section’ of No.10 have done a job on presenting things in as innocuous fashion as possible. Please don’t be fooled by PR re-branding. This is pure Remainer tosh.”

Since we wrote that piece, David Davis and Steve Baker have stated that the Chequers paper was not their paper. They had been working on what they thought was the official DExEU policy paper, only to find that unelected civil servant Olly Robbins and his cohorts had secretly been working on a wholly-different, Remain paper. It was Olly Robbins’ document which was agreed by Theresa May and presented to Cabinet on that sunny July day a year ago.

Here was our summary of this paper on 08 July 2018.

Brexit Summary

Some key implications of Mrs May’s ‘soft remain’ document

  • Free movement will continue forever, re-badged as “labour mobility framework”
  • Rules of the Single Market will continue, with all UK businesses obeying EU laws – in perpetuity
  • ECJ will continue to adjudicate these laws
  • UK must not compete against the EU - no lower taxes or other ways of making the UK more competitive in the future
  • UK will continue to apply the Common External Tariff on all imports for many more years
  • At some undetermined future point, UK can apply its own tariffs for UK-bound goods only
  • UK will act as tax collector for the EU
  • The only possible trade deals would be almost worthless, as the UK would be negotiating under EU rules

What happened next?

As everyone now knows, Olly and Theresa’s bizarre “Facilitated Customs Arrangement” died a death on its first contact with the EU negotiating team. Prior to this we wrote “For the record, the ‘Third Way’ is incompatible with the EU Council’s formal Brexit guidelines.” So it proved. (For a short time the Facilitated Customs Arrangement was known as the 'Third Way'.)

For once we were in full agreement with Monsieur Barnier. The idea that the UK could operate what were in effect two different customs regimes, with the UK collecting tariffs for the EU, was simply preposterous. Only people with no practical knowledge of business and international trade could have dreamt up such nonsense.

Instead, the EU ploughed ahead with the drafting of their ‘surrender document’ for the UK, and the UK’s negotiating team acquiesced to each demand. We ended up with May’s infamous “Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration” – surely the worst international treaty ever concocted in the history of international relations. Let’s not forget that this was then agreed by Mrs May and presented three times to Parliament, where it was rejected three times – mostly for the wrong reasons, it has to be said.


Why did no-one move against May?

By the Monday morning after the fateful Chequers meeting, Theresa May had lost her Brexit Secretary (David Davis) and her Brexit Minister (Steve Baker). The next day she lost her Foreign Secretary (Boris Johnson). Their letters of resignation were courteous, but damning.

We simply could not understand why moves were not then made to unseat her. Putting politics to one side, it was clear that Mrs May was embarked on a course of action deeply damaging to the country, and to democracy itself.

Even today she remains in power, desperately trying to push through new policies on a raft of matters in order to deliver ‘a legacy’. We have news for you, Prime Minister. It’s too late. Your legacy is already set in stone. In our opinion your indecisive, duplicitous, and dangerous leadership of the country in the last three years marks you out as the worst Prime Minister in living memory.

We will leave readers with our conclusion regarding the ‘Chequers Deal’ which we wrote one year ago today:

“In reality, as we’ve said from the very beginning, the EU will NEVER do any sensible deal with the UK. They are extreme ideologues and the UK must be punished, ‘pour encourager les autres’. For the EU, this has only ever been about politics and the continued advance of their precious EU Projekt Superstate.”

[ Sources: Cabinet Office, No.10 ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 08 Jul 2019

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