Boris Johnson did “a pretty good job” with the Brexit deal, so the Brexiteer Tory MPs believe, so they are gearing up towards giving Boris Johnson backing for securing a deal that has defied the claims of the European Union and their Remainers.
Following the UK Government publishing the 1,246-page agreement document yesterday, the Star Chamber of lawyers advising the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs began pouring over details to advise whether it could be backed or not.
Some of the lawyers include eminent QC Martin Howe, the chairman of Lawyers for Britain; veteran Tory Brexiteer MP Sir Bill Cash and former Brexit minister David Jones. At least, a senior source in the powerful ERG noted that while the deal is not perfect it is still “pretty good” and should get the group’s backing.
“Boris Johnson has achieved what we were told could not be achieved which is tariff-free access to the Single Market without being subject to their rules or the European Court of Justice.
“Looking at this deal you have to wonder why we spent all these years as a member state paying £10 billion a year into the EU when we could have had this access with a trade deal,” the MP said.
Although there are concerns bear traps exist within the deal which means MPs need longer to be properly scrutinised, with North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen, who was one of the groups of Brexiteer Spartans who held out against Theresa May’s deal, warning, “A treaty with the EU is not just for Christmas.”
“Rather than bounce it through the Commons in one day, both the EU and UK should have a short period of time to analyse it properly before we grant approval and there should be a provisional approval vote followed by full Parliamentary scrutiny and a subsequent confirmatory vote,” he said.
Recall that last year December the Brexiteer Tories scooped former Labour heartland seats on a promise of “getting Brexit done.”
“As a Member of Parliament for a so-called Red Wall constituency – one which elected a Conservative MP for the first time in its history – I know how important it is that the deal passes these tests.
“Voters in the Red Wall lent the Conservative Party their vote because we promised to deliver on Brexit – something that means so much to them. Red Wall voters are now looking to see if the proof is in the Christmas pudding. Will it be an M&S luxury one or a cheap foreign imitation?” Rother Valley MP Alex Stafford said.
Major concern seems to be coming from Northern Ireland… with the Withdrawal Agreement protocol still applying as part of the province remain under EU jurisdiction.
“The Withdrawal Agreement is in place. We are committed to it and obviously, it does set up different arrangements, mainly for trading goods and one or two other things in Northern Ireland.
“The people of Northern Ireland can choose whether it continues in 2024. Northern Ireland will be different for a bit by as long as they want it.
“But the fundamentals of what it means to be one country in a huge range of areas are still in place. In particular, Northern Ireland benefits from other trade agreements with other countries,” a source close to David Frost said.
Another issue seems to be on fishing, with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations saying fisheries “were sacrificed”. Scottish Nationalist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who’s opposing Brexit, tried to cash in politically on the claims saying “major promises were broken”.
Some sources close to the UK chief negotiator Lord Frost admitted that Britain was pressured to compromise more on fish than it should have been but so was the EU with the German fishing industry erupting yesterday.
“The crucial thing on fisheries policy, although there is a transition at the end of the transition it returns to normal arrangements and we have full control over our waters and our fish. We negotiate as an independent coastal state with the EU and third parties,” the source said.
The fishing agreement says that in five and a half years time Britain can ban European trawlers from entering British waters and the EU can do the same to British fishermen in its waters. Both sides can also at that point impose tariffs on each other’s fish but it can only be done via international arbitration and be proportionate, not like EU-Norway agreement which is constantly threatened with tariffs.