New deal or no deal, but no more delay

  • This is our fair and reasonable compromise. If the EU want to do a deal then this is the final opportunity to do so.

 

  • Our new deal will enable the United Kingdom to leave the EU in a friendly way. Unlike the previous deal, our new deal means we will take back control of our laws and our borders. We cannot be trapped under European law like the previous deal.

 

  • We need a new deal or no deal, but no more delays – we must get Brexit done so the country can move on and focus on the cost of living, the NHS and other domestic priorities that will get the United Kingdom back on the road to a brighter future. 

 

This new deal means we can leave on 31 October without disruption and in a friendly way.

 

It is a reasonable compromise for all sides that respects the referendum.

 

The previous deal did not take back control – it meant we could have been stuck under European law and the European court forever. Unlike the previous deal, our new deal means we will take back control of our laws and our borders. We cannot be trapped under European law like the previous deal.

 

There is a special arrangement for Northern Ireland that protects the Irish peace process and ensures democratic consent for the arrangement. 

 

We hope Brussels will work with us on the details over the next ten days.

 

If they do, we will leave with a new deal. If they don’t want to talk, then we will leave anyway without a deal.

 

We need a new deal or no deal, but no more delays – we must get Brexit done so the country can move on and focus on the cost of living, the NHS and other domestic priorities that will get the United Kingdom back on the road to a brighter future. 

 

Key points

 

The policy of this government is to leave on 31 October. Our strong preference is to leave with a new deal, but we must leave anyway if no deal can be agreed.

 

Today, the government will provide detailed papers including legal texts to the European Commission. It is a reasonable compromise, which takes into account the red lines on all sides and balances five factors:

 

  1. The referendum must be respected. The 2016 ballot paper did not say ‘leave only if a deal can be agreed’. This deal ensures that the whole UK leaves the EU. 

 

  1. The integrity of the EU’s Single Market must be respected.

 

  1. The integrity of the United Kingdom must be respected.

 

  1. The peace process and land border in Ireland require the UK and EU to compromise.

 

  1. Any special arrangements in Northern Ireland require democratic consent – it is impossible in a democracy to make permanent international deals that provide no democratic path for people to change how they are governed.

 

This new deal balances these five factors and represents a reasonable compromise that all sides could accept such that 1) Britain can leave with a deal, 2) there is no disruption and 3) there is a genuine basis for discussions over the future UK-EU relationship.

 

Our proposal is based on five principles:

 

  • The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement must be respected and the peace process protected. The framework it provides must remain the fundamental basis for governance in Northern Ireland.

 

  • UK/Ireland cooperation will continue. There must be no checks at or near the Northern Ireland border. This means that there must be a special arrangement for Northern Ireland to provide flexibility for all parties to deal with the land border between the UK and EU.

 

  • To ensure the integrity of the EU’s Single Market, there will be an all-island regulatory zone in Ireland covering SPS/agrifood and manufacturing goods. 

 

  • The zone must depend on the democratic consent of those affected – the people of Northern Ireland through the Assembly and Executive.  

 

  • To maintain the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland must remain part of the UK customs territory. The UK will not be part of a customs union with the EU, but there will be sensible cooperation on customs between the UK and EU to avoid checks at the border.

 

A new deal based on these principles will enable Britain to leave the EU in a friendly way. The referendum will be respected. The special arrangements for customs, which make up a tiny fraction of EU-UK trade, can easily be solved if all sides are prepared to compromise and show good will.

 

The Prime Minister will speak to key leaders now Party Conference is over. Both sides will then have to judge whether it is possible to work out a detailed legal treaty over the next three weeks.

 

Lots could have been different but for the actions taken by the previous government that drove the country into a cul-de-sac. This new deal is not perfect. But if there is to be a deal it is clear that this is the only possible landing zone for compromise. We are obviously happy to negotiate details.

 

If the EU maintains the position that in effect Northern Ireland is never allowed to leave the Customs Union, then it is impossible to negotiate any deal – in which case there will be checks according to the Commission’s own logic. This will be seen by everybody as a crazy policy. We have offered a compromise to avoid this situation.

 

If the EU ends negotiations by rejecting this last chance for a fair and reasonable compromise, then the government will focus on preparing to leave on 31 October. The government will not negotiate a delay at the EU Council on 17-18 October. Government policy is to oppose any further delay which would be extremely damaging for democratic politics and the economy.