People have asked me what I would like to happen or what I would be prepared to vote for.
As a minister, I was prevented from including in my speeches the offer made by the EU in March 2018, which you can find here: http://bit.ly/EUofferMar. I would like the UK to exit the EU into a relationship of the character of that offer, for the whole UK.
The EU’s offer included security co-operation, participation in various programmes and institutions, dealing with absurdities like any threat to flights, and a comprehensive advanced free trade agreement covering all sectors with no tariffs, no quantitative restrictions and including services. It is not yet clear why the Prime Minister – working against the collective decision of DExEU ministers to which I was a party – chose instead to seek a form of Brexit somewhat like the Customs Union plus somewhat like the EEA.
I have worked with other parliamentarians to find a solution which a majority of MPs could vote for. The outcome of our work across the spectrum of opinion in the Conservative Parliamentary Party was the Malthouse Compromise.
The Government should have focussed efforts on delivering arrangements for the border in Ireland which would endure indefinitely whether under WTO rules or a free trade agreement. Those arrangements would unlock the potential to accept the EU’s offer for the whole UK. I sketched this solution in a Telegraph article here: http://bit.ly/2RY4uGJ
I recently drafted, tabled and supported an amendment to the EU Withdrawal (No 5) Bill based on the Malthouse Compromise. You can read the amendment here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0371/amend/euwno5_daily_cwh_0403v1.1-7.html
I haven’t just opposed the proposed Withdrawal Agreement; I have also worked with colleagues in Parliament and outside to bring forward robust policy proposals to solve the issues at hand.
For example, you can find papers on the solution to the Irish border and the opportunities of operating an independent trade and regulatory policy here, http://bit.ly/ERGNI and here, http://bit.ly/PLANAPlus
I thoroughly recommend Plan A+ for an insight into how the UK could transform world trade policy for the betterment of billions of people. This is the prize which the Prime Minister’s deal takes off the table.
You may find the following further information interesting:
A plain English analysis of the shortcomings of the deal: http://bit.ly/ERGRightToKnow
A myth-buster on cross border trade: http://bit.ly/FactNotFriction
Why the EEA would not be an acceptable settlement: http://bit.ly/ERGNoEEA