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No-deal is not an end.

Nigel Farage says that Boris Johnson's "new" Brexit offer is a "reheated" version of Theresa May's withdrawal agreement. As I write the details are unclear;  but, deal or no deal, it doesn't stop there. 

A no-deal Brexit isn't what it says it is.  Yes, we would leave without a deal, but it isn't the end of the matter. We still have to make a trade deal with the EU, just as much as we would need to make a deal with the USA.  

 Unlesss we want to capitulate to all the demands made many years of haggling lie ahead.  Our formal exit from the EU is just the beginning.   That, after all, is what the fuss about the backstop has been about; it is about what happens if we can't reach an agreement. 

Of course, if we leave 'without a deal', then the backstop doesn't exist, but what then do we do about our arrangements with Ireland? We would need to renegotiate how those work.  Many businesses operate across the border.  Arrangements will need to be agreed to enable them to continue and to protect jobs.  

Unpicking the details will take time and a lot of political goodwill, and it will require a deal. 

There are legal issues to resolve our Treaty obligations with Ireland and the Good Friday agreement.  They do not disappear on Brexit, even if we leave without a deal.  Our relationship with the Republic of Ireland will be a difficult one.  

And then there is the tricky issue of citizenships and rights.

Under the Good Friday agreement, citizens of Northern Ireland can hold dual citizenship with Ireland.  As Irish citizens, they will also be citizens of the EU.   This arrangement is a vital part of the Good Friday agreement and Treaty with Ireland.  

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has said changes in UK immigration laws treating people in Northern Ireland automatically as British citizens (or British subjects) “goes against the grain” of the 1998 agreement underpinning the Northern Irish peace process.  

Are we heading for two-tier citizenship rights?  Adding up all British citizens who might qualify, it has been estimated that about 6.7 million people in the UK who don't already have an Irish passport could be entitled to one.   



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