The EU have required the UK to accept there can be no re opening of the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement during the delay in our exit. They have also stated we cannot start discussing the future partnership despite it being sketched vaguely in the Political declaration, until the Withdrawal Agreement is signed.
This new agreement says if the UK does not fight the European elections we will automatically leave on 31 May. That would be the best outcome from here, and is to be recommended to a government that does not really want to hold the elections yet seems drifting to them for want of accepting the Withdrawal Agreement is not about to pass.
If the government wants to carry on with the delay despite the fact that it cannot be used to renegotiate anything with the EU, then the UK is subjected to major constraints on its rights as a continuing member of the EU. despite paying a big financial contribution and acting as importer of last resort for many continental producers, the UK is required to behave in a way the EU finds acceptable. The Agreement says ” The UK shall facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and shall refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives, in particular when participating in the decision making processes of the EU. ”
Worse still they act as if the Withdrawal Agreement is in effect when the delay has been caused by the unhappiness of most voters and many MPs with it. “Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act by the UK should be compatible with the letter and spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement, and must not hamper its implementation.” This is an unusual idea that a country has to follow an international treaty which its Parliament refuses to ratify!
Follow this news feed: John Redwood MP