Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has taken to his weekly column in The Telegraph to savage the Chequers proposal and has suggested that the Irish backstop threatens the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.
Mr Johnson, has used colourful language to describe Britain’s current path in the Brexit negotiations, as heading straight for a “spectacular political car crash”, as a result of a skid from the oil on the road from the Irish backstop.
He has accused the European Union of using the Irish border as an attempt to “annex Northern Ireland” as the current proposals would “imply customs and regulatory controls between Britain and Northern Ireland, and therefore a border down the Irish sea.”
By adopting the backstop agreement, Mr Johnson has argued, we would transform our “bilateral and non-justiciable agreement between Britain and the Irish government into a justiciable agreement to be supervised and enforced by the EU.”
The Irish backstop is a monstrosity that wipes out our sovereignty… https://t.co/ToEcvkG4O0
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 17, 2018
The issue however, goes deeper than this because rather than looking for a technological solution to the Irish border, Chequers means the whole of the UK would have to “remain effectively in the customs union and large parts of the single market until Brussels says otherwise.”
Pointing to the report released last week by the Economists for Free Trade, Mr Johnson said there are many ways to address regulatory divergence between the UK and Ireland, without creating physical checks at the Northern Ireland border. We must be willing to look to more innovative solutions than the backstop option, he has urged, saying that “extra checks can be done away from the border, with trusted trader and self-assessment schemes, and plain enforcement of the law at warehouses and points of sale.”
The Chequers agreement however, is nothing short of a “constitutional abomination” according to Mr Johnson. He argues that the Government has merely caved to EU demands rather than looking at ways around the border problem. The level of appeasement he says, must stop because it will now only make us beholden to Brussels and leave us as an EU “vassal state.”
Mr Johnson concludes by saying we must be examining more innovative solutions to the border problem and abandoning the backstop option. Only then will we will finally be free to leave the EU properly. The Chequers proposal however, means “we are swallowing the camel of EU membership in all but name.”