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Boris' deal needs scrutiny

There is a saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.   This can be said of the Withdrawal Agreement reached by Boris Johnson with the EU.  The devil, as ever, is in the detail, and these details raise many issues that still need to be resolved.  Rushing the complexities of those issues through Parliament on Saturday is hardly likely to give them proper scrutiny.

Boris Johnson will tell MPs that it is "his" deal or no-deal.   This, of course, need not be so, but time is running out, as is the patience of the EU.  They want to get a deal so they can move on.  So also does the British public.

I am sure we are all fed up with Brexit, but it is the most significant decision our country will make for generations.

Accepting a deal merely because we want to 'get Brexit done' is not a good reason. We need to be sure the compromise is workable and that it is what the British people really want.

The withdrawal agreement is at least a case to be made to the British people. We finally have a clear idea of what the provisions of a deal are and people can see the consequences.   But this requires analysis and MPs need time to dissect those consequences.

Instead of giving up and packing their bags, now is the time for Remainers to make their case that it would be better to stay.

Equally, it is now time for those who would instead leave without such a deal to make their case. How does the agreement stack up in relation to what those who voted for Brexit wanted?

At least we have something to work with.  We now need a proper consultation.  Is this really 'the will of the people'? 

It is undoubtedly not Heaven on Earth.  

Implementing the provisions of the Johnson/May deal will be tricky, and there is a lot to do to work out the detail.   For example, on payment of tariffs and where and how these are to be tracked.   The agreement says

"No customs duties shall be payable for a good brought into Northern Ireland from another part of the United Kingdom by direct transport, notwithstanding paragraph 3, unless that good is at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union, whether by itself or forming part of another good following processing."

How and when it will be decided that any goods are 'at risk' of being moved into the European Union remains unresolved? 

If a grommet is moved from one company in, say, Liverpool to Belfast where it is used on a bit of a cable that is then supplied to another company in Northern Ireland to use in a product it then sells across the border in the Republic of Ireland, then a tariff might be payable on the grommet....How that gets tracked is a detail that needs to be resolved.

The Johnson/May deal (95% of the provisions were in Mrs May's deal) will give the people of Northern Ireland a say but not the people of the UK.

Within 2 months before the end of both the initial period and any subsequent period, "the United Kingdom shall provide the opportunity for democratic consent in Northern Ireland to the continued application" of key provisions of the deal.

Why not the rest of the UK on the provisions that affect us all?

A referendum on the Boris/May deal is needed. Is it really what people voted for in 2016?

A key Leave argument was to "free" the UK from the EU Court of Justice.

In respect to the provisions for Northern Ireland and the customs border. The Court of Justice of the European Union "shall have the jurisdiction" provided for in the Treaties.

No wonder Nigel Farage has dismissed the deal as "unacceptable." 

If the provisions made for Northern Ireland in the withdrawal agreement are considered more favourable than those affecting the rest of the United Kingdom - access to both the EU customs union and the UK customs union - then Scotland and Wales might now consider it has a strong case for pushing for the same arrangements. Even voters in England might think that to be a good deal also.

If we have a situation where a deal becomes unacceptable to both Leavers and Remainers, then it should be put back to the people to decide.   It is unlikely Parliament will be able to resolve the divisions unless Boris Johnson manages to get his deal through parliament.



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