In the run-up to the European Council meeting in December, the Committee on Exiting the European Union, on which South Thanet MP and Leave-supporter, Craig Mackinlay MP sits, today publishes a report on the current state of the negotiations.
At next month’s meeting, the EU27 will consider whether sufficient progress has been made to allow talks to progress to phase two negotiations on the future relationship.
The Report, from a very divided Committee comprising of a majority of MPs who voted remain in the June 2016 referendum, claims that it does not see how it will be possible to reconcile there being no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with the Government’s policy of leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union.
The Brexit Committee urges the Government to publish a white paper on the proposed implementation period as soon as possible after December’s European Council to set out in detail how it plans to meet its objective of avoiding the imposition of a border, including if no withdrawal agreement is reached by 29 March 2019.
However, Committee Member, Craig Mackinlay MP, has sought to distance himself from the Committee’s Report.
Craig Mackinlay MP commented:
“In last year’s referendum, the people instructed the Government to take back control of our laws, borders and trade. As was made clear at the time by both sides of the referendum campaign, to take back control of our laws and borders, we must leave the Single Market. And to take back control of our trade policy, we must leave the Customs Union.
“Nor am I not persuaded that urging the Government to show its hand to the EU by publishing further proposals on the border issue while in the middle of these very important negotiations is in the national interest. Patently the reverse is true.
“Maintaining our strong and historic ties with the Republic of Ireland is important in these negotiations, which is why the Government has said explicitly that there will not be any physical border infrastructure between the Northern Ireland border and the Republic. Of course, there has long been a VAT and currency border. Goods and services entailing cross border transactions have paperwork and electronic filing to efficiently and effectively handle the different tax regimes. If we end up with the World Trade Organisation model, for instance, I see no reason why it is not possible to add a customs tariff if necessary under a no deal scenario. With political will, clearly lacking by the EU negotiators, all is possible."