Former Brexit minister and ERG Deputy Chairman Steve Baker MP (Wycombe, Con) today released a series of five short videos summarising where we are in the Brexit negotiations.

These are intended to inform the public. Steve remembers Maastricht at the age of 21 as a terrible row which hardly anyone seemed to understand. These videos are intended to avoid that problem today.

He says,

  • British politics is starting to resemble the closing scene of a Tarantino movie
  • We are trying to achieve freedom. And freedom means self-government. Freedom is the fountainhead of prosperity, virtue and dignity. It is a thing worth striving for.
  • We must actually leave, not leave in name only or ask the question again.
  • The EU is not entitled to split the UK. The Irish “backstop” is therefore a profound risk to agreeing a deal at all.
  • EFTA and the EEA have been conveyors to full EU membership. Neither is suitable for us as a member state leaving.
  • Cabinet was bounced into agreeing Chequers.
  • The EU is not entitled to constrain UK trade policy and domestic regulation.
  • Under a Chequers-based deal, we wouldn’t control our domestic regulation or our trade policy in any meaningful sense. The UK would be a rule taker forever, locked in a decaying orbit as a regulatory satellite around the EU.
  • Therefore, any “backstop” which threatened the future of either the Union of the UK or our independent trade and regulatory policy would be unacceptable.
  • The ERG paper on the Irish border is the key to unlocking the prison into which these negotiations have fallen.
  • If we marry together proposals for an FTA with jointly acceptable proposals for a free-flowing border in Northern Ireland, we should have a good deal that works for all sides.
  • However, it may be that powerful forces within the government are determined to have a “high alignment” Brexit: something like the EEA plus something like the Customs Union.
  • They may be preparing the ground to rejoin the EU later.
  • The optimal solution is to accept practical solutions on the Irish border and negotiate the exit which the EU has offered.
  • The UK can then go forward to transform world trade and domestic regulation to be pro-competitive and welfare-enhancing.


Video playlist available here:

Transcripts (check against delivery) and this press release are available here:

Steve Baker may be reached on the usual number.

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