Explosive claims have been made by a top EU lawyer which outlines why the current government plan would effectively keep the UK inside the EU.
Martin Howe QC, circulated his findings to numerous Tory MPs after the government came to an agreed position on Brexit.
The claims, leaked to various outlets, including Guido, suggests the UK would not be able to trade freely, make its own laws, or control its borders.
Howe’s legal opinion is:
- The Chequers proposals would involve the permanent continuation in the UK of all EU laws which relate to goods, their composition, their packaging, how they are tested etc etc in order to enable goods to cross the UK/EU border without controls. All goods on the UK manufactured in the UK for the UK domestic market, or imported from non-EU countries, would be permanently subject to these controls.
- There would be a general obligation to alter these laws in future whenever the EU alters its own laws, with a mechanism for Parliament to block such changes which is probably theoretical rather than practical.
- This would put the EU in a position to fashion its rules relating to goods so as to further the interests of continental producers against UK competitors, when we will have no right to vote on those rules.
- The obligation to follow the EU rulebook for goods would gravely impair our ability to conduct an independent trade policy. In particular, it will prevent us from including Mutual Recognition Agreements for goods in trade treaties and this is likely to destroy the prospect of successfully achieving meaningful agreements with some of the prime candidates such as the USA and Australia.
- These proposals therefore lead directly to a worst-of-all-worlds “Black Hole” Brexit where the UK is stuck permanently as a vassal state in the EU’s legal and regulatory tarpit, still has to obey EU laws and ECJ rulings across vast areas, cannot develop an effective international trade policy or adapt our economy to take advantage of the freedom of Brexit, and has lost its vote and treaty vetos rights as an EU Member State.