Deal & No Deal - Two opposing perspectives

Foreign Affairs & Security
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
By Nic Conner & Ben Harris-Quinney


Why us Brexiteers should not fear May’s deal

By Nic Conner

If MP’s do not support May’s Deal they are in danger of letting down the mandate the British public set them on 23 June 2016 when Vote Leave won the referendum by a majority. 

Just under 1.3 million more people voted to Leave than Remain, that is equivalent to the total populations of Birmingham and Belfast. If you look at the referendum results constituency-by-constituency; like you would for a General Election then Vote Leave would have won 416 seats. That is just two less than what Tony Blair got during his 1997 landslide victory. It is clear Parliament needs to deliver the public's command.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a fan of this deal, it is not the best deal we could have had and it is crystal clear the Prime Minister needs to scrap the unacceptable Backstop to get this deal over the line. We need her to do this as this Deal is our only realistic option to leave the EU on 29 March. 

Because Government did not prepare for No Deal, if we were to leave in a couple of weeks without an arrangement it would hit our farmers hard. 

About 65% of all UK agricultural exports head to the EU. About 85% of Welsh Lamb heads to the other side of the Channel. In a No Deal universe we would trade under World Trade Organisation rules, rules designed to have higher tariffs on agricultural goods so to protect domestic markets.For example Welsh Lamb exports will have tariffs of at least 50% and frozen beef from Somerset will see 87% tariffs. These rules are there to stop trade and I fear if British farmers have to really on them, that is what will happen it will stop their trade. 

We need to transition out of the EU on good trading terms. Equally we have to leave the shackles of the Custminst Union and start to trade with the rest of the world. 

There is a lot of opportunities for British agricultural trade away from the EU. Only in June last year China lifted the ban on British beef, this is worth £250 million in the first 5 years alone. In 2016 nine UK producers sold 43m worth of pork - that is £9 million more than the entire Scotch whisky trade. 

When we leave we can start to negotiate for new trade partnerships, like Trans-Pacific Partnership which would diversify UK farmer’s reliance from EU in a more systematic manner. Leaving with a No Deal would make it completely uncompetitive to trade with our current buyers, without the option to transfer into new markets.

By backing May’s Deal we will be setting sight on the opportunities to do business, not only in the land which lays between Calais and Warsaw but the whole world as well. This is not the perfect exit, we could have negotiated a better deal but with weeks until we leave this is the best route to our global future. As the American boxing promoter Don King said ‘you never get what you deserve.You get what you negotiate’. This is what we got so let’s get on with it. 

No Deal remains our best Brexit

By Ben Harris-Quinney

If you were to tune into BBC news of an average evening with no prior knowledge of the Brexit process you'd be forgiven for thinking the most likely outcome is a second referendum vote, a general election or simply remaining in the EU as if nothing had happened. 

These are all in fact extremely unlikely, and would come with dire consequences for the nation and its politics.

The most likely outcome remains a no deal Brexit, because as it stands, thanks in part to the work of Bow Group Senior Patron Sir John Redwood, the date of our leaving the EU in fulfilment of the Article 50 process is set as March 29th 2019. 

I'm not someone who would argue a no deal Brexit scenario presents no challenges, nor would it be my favoured choice. The establishment have thrown every roadblock they can infront of this process, leaving a no deal the best of a very bad set of options.

It is also perfectly plausible that the remainers and eurocrats would like to see a no deal scenario in the short term, with a view to creating maximum havoc and using it to build the case for a second referendum.

A no deal Brexit scenario however offers two immutable advantages: one it gives us no restriction on what future deals we may make (including with the EU), secondly it is the default option should a hopelessly divided Parliament fail to find an alternative, meaning the Brexit vote is finally and irrevocably fulfilled. Beyond that we would keep the circa £40 billion divorce settlement monies to reinvest in our own economy, and have total freedom on domestic regulations and border control. The most important general attribute of a no deal scenario is it leaves all options open, and Britain in unadulterated control of it's own future, which I believe honours what we voted for.

What is absolutely clear, is that rather than feeding the public scare stories about a no deal scenario, the Government should be addressing considerable resources to planning for it as a probable outcome.

I estimate that since 2017 there has been and remains a slender majority of support for a Brexit deal of sorts, but Parliament couldn't have given a clearer declaration to dissent towards its current form in voting down May's proposed deal with the greatest defeat to a government in British history. To date the Government's leading claim has been that we must accept the Prime Minister's proposed deal, or risk no deal, or no Brexit at all.

Whilst there is little good about May's current deal, what makes it completely unacceptable is the backstop that locks us into a customs partnership with the EU we cant unilaterally get out of, which in turn means we cant make trade deals with other nations or even set our own rules for our own market. 

Whilst a no deal scenario would still be superior, if that backstop is removed as much recent chatter has eluded, then there may be a case for swallowing the bitter medicine of the rest of May's deal with a view to changing it in the coming years, provided it was accompanied with a strong immigration bill. 

As things stand however this is not the case, and without the removal of the backstop May's deal would frankly be worse than remaining in the EU, and thusly fighting against towards a no deal Brexit merits all the inherent risk involved.