The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has revealed plans to establish an internal border in Kent after the Brexit transition period is concluded, but a political analyst has hinted that the plan could be part of a plan to force a deal with the EU, a move which is bound to anger Leave Voters.
Director of Issues and Public Affairs at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Steve Hawkes, said discussions of a Kent border could be part of a wider plan to force the EU into signing a deal while alerting that Boris Johnson is gradually adopting Theresa May style of a deal, which caused outrage among Tory Brexiteers last year.
“I can’t help thinking the Internal Markets Bill, talk of a ‘border’ in Kent is all cover for the very Theresa May-like Brexit deal Boris will sign, say, at the end of October,” Mr Hawkes Twitted.
The Prime Minister has given the EU a deadline of October 15 to reach agreement on a post-Brexit trade deal, although both sides still have some strong lines to cross before thinking of a possible deal.
Mr Johnson’s plan to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement if a deal is not reached in time, as outlined in the Internal Markets Bill increased tensions with the bloc.
The minister in charge for no-deal planning Michael Gove, yesterday said truck drivers will need a permit to cross the Border in Kent after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 going forward, while clarifying that the permits could help avoid queues of up to 7,000 trucks looking to cross the English Channel after the UK leaves the single market and customs union.
Mr Gove suggested the Kent Access Permit (KAP) system would be enforced by police and ANPR cameras. This will require that drivers apply for the permits online and show they have all the paperwork they need to ferry goods to Europe.
The Attorney General is under pressure with calls floading requesting she resigns for defending controversial Brexit legislation which enables the UK to break international law.
Suella Braverman told MPs it is “entirely proper, entirely constitutional and lawful in domestic law” to enact legislation that may operate in breach of international law or treaty obligations, “It’s a pretty basic principle of law and if the honourable gentleman is having trouble understanding, I’d be very happy to sit down and explain it to him,” she added.
Ms Braverman said this when replying to the SNP’s attorney general spokesman Stuart McDonald, who accused her of putting her political loyalties and Brexit fanaticism ahead of her loyalty to the rule of law when it should be the other way round”.
The European Union is finding it difficult to understand it has a “completely unrealistic position” in post-Brexit trade negotiation following Mr Johnson’s refusal to submit to its demands, according to a trade law expert.
Shanker Singham noted that Mr Johnson has taken a different approach in handling the UK-EU trade negotiation from the previous Government. The CEO of trade law and economic policy consultancy, Competere, said the UK will not submit to the EU’s demands and the message has been communicated to Michel Barnier by Mr Johnson.
While speaking to Westminster’s Future Relationship with the European Union Committee, Mr Singham said, “I think what was going on in the sort of June/July period was the EU were essentially negotiating with the UK Government as it was prior to the new administration.
“The history of the negotiation was that if the EU remained firm with its very strong opening bid and did not deviate off its opening bid then the history was that the UK would cave in. So, from a negotiating standpoint, I think the EU has just assumed that would continue, hence we have this issue where the EU has put forward this position.
“I would describe it as a completely unrealistic position, that another country would adopt your rule of law, your own legal order. They are doing that because they think the UK will ultimately cave in and simply accept the EU’s demands.
“I think what the UK had to get across, and it has succeeded, is that it is not going to cave in as it had done in the past. That is quite hard for the EU to understand: that there is quite a different approach now.”
Road Haulage Association (RHA) policy director Duncan Buchanan explained the essence of the measure after he said he was involved in a recent test of the permit system which indicates that Kent Access Permits will be issued to all lorry drivers who claim their paperwork is in order, without any checks carried out.
“It’s an honesty box system. It’s not an effective system to actually guarantee or ensure that someone is ready to cross the border. It doesn’t do that. It is just a logging system for someone to say ‘I am going to the port and I promise I’m ready’. It doesn’t really do much more than that.”
“It’s not asking for reference numbers or anything like that. It is super basic. Thankfully the bureaucracy involved is negligible, but the function is also negligible. The entire system is pointless and probably counterproductive,” he told the PA news.
The UK government has been advised to quickly ramp up engagement with business following a couple of unanswered questions over Brexit and considering that it is now fewer than 100 days until the end of the Brexit transition period.