Yesterday, I commented “Nigel Farage says Johnson’s deal is Not Brexit. I find that to be a joke.”
A reader replied: “Farage made an interesting speech on Monday. He covered 10 points regarding why Johnson’s deal is not Brexit.”
In case you want official Brexit Party statements, please see If you only read one thing about Boris Johnson’s deal,make it this.
The points are mostly the same but in a different order.
Differences Between Johnson’s Deal and Theresa May’s Deal
Bloomberg explains Differences Between Johnson’s Deal and Theresa May’s Deal.
This is the big one. Under Johnson’s deal the U.K. will leave the EU’s customs union, allowing it to strike its own trade deals with other countries. Under May’s proposals the country would have stayed in – at least until it had reached a free trade agreement with the EU – preserving trade ties built up over its 46-year membership of the bloc and its predecessors.
Conclusion: Point 8 is a blatant lie.
Level Playing Field on EU Rules
Johnson wants to give himself greater room to diverge from EU rules on, for example, social and environmental standards – something that has already angered Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman.
May’s Deal: The future relationship must ensure open and fair competition. Provisions to ensure this should cover state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters, building on the level playing field arrangements provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement and commensurate with the overall economic relationship.
Johnson’s Deal: The precise nature of commitments should be commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship and the economic connectedness of the Parties.
The political statement says “The Parties should in particular maintain a robust and comprehensive framework for competition and state aid control that prevents undue distortion of trade and competition; commit to the principles of good governance in the area of taxation and to the curbing of harmful tax practices; and maintain environmental, social and employment standards at the current high levels provided by the existing common standards.”
Bloomberg accurately points out “On the face of it, Johnson’s deal commits the U.K. to a host of new safeguards and trade relationships. However, the political declaration is just that – a statement of intent rather than a binding commitment.”
All that crap about trade, governance, taxation, etc., was removed from the binding Withdrawal Agreement to the non-binding political declaration.
Ironically, Labour is upset because it understands Johnson can indeed weaken employment standards, worker protections, etc.
Conclusion: Points 1 through 6 are a pack of lies.
Three Main Differences
The Journal comments on Three Main Differences Between Theresa May’s Brexit Deal and Boris Johnson’s
THE KEY DIFFERENCES between Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, and Boris Johnson’s version of it are the alternative arrangement to the Irish backstop, a consent mechanism for the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the level-playing field provision.
The “level-playing field” provision was another sticking point for UK-EU negotiators. It essentially aimed to create a base level of standards for labour rights, the environment, tax and state aid rules.
This is so as to ensure state aid rules aren’t used by either side to boost their own companies; labour rules aren’t lowered in order to increase company profits; or environmental standards aren’t renegned upon in order to become more competitive post-Brexit.
This had been a legally-binding agreement contained in the Withdrawal Agreement – it’s now stated in the Political Declaration.
Reference to a customs union as the baseline for a future trade deal, and UK alignment with EU regulations have also been removed.
Same Conclusion: Points 1-6 are a huge pack of lies.
Frictionless Free Trade
From the Guardian article How is Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal different from Theresa May’s?
The commitment to frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is restated. “Nothing in the protocol prevents the UK from ensuring unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK’s internal market”.
The EU and the UK will aim for a zero-tariff deal with unlimited quotas. The entire UK, including Northern Ireland, will be free to sign trade deals.
The line in the political declaration that “the United Kingdom will consider aligning with union rules in relevant areas” in any future trade talks has been ditched.
One source said the removal of this albeit vague promise of being aligned to the EU in future has been the key to unlocking the support of the European Research Group.
The island of Ireland is considering a single market for electricity so homes in Northern Ireland can get their energy from a supplier in Northern Ireland or the republic. There were fears this could be disrupted by Brexit. Under the Johnson deal, the provisions of union law remain so nothing will change.
Point 8 is a blatant lie.
Fishing and financial services are details to be worked out later.
Point 7 is a lie.
Trapped by the European Court of Justice
The problems won’t end with the transition period. Don’t be fooled just because the Political Declaration on future relations is not legally binding. Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement requires us to use ‘best endeavours, in good faith’ to negotiate a future deal in line with the PD. Any breach of this duty will see the EU haul Britain before an arbitration panel – half EU appointees, half pro-EU judges from the UK. And the panel must defer to the European court on anything concerning EU Law. If they rule that a UK law goes against the Political Declaration, UK courts will have to overturn that law (WA, Articles 170-175). The Political Declaration is a trap from which there is no plausible escape.
That is the concluding paragraph of the official Brexit Party statement.
Let’s tune into the Independent for analysis.
EU law will apply in the transition period
After we leave the EU, we will go into limbo, known in the bill as the implementation period (IP), although everyone calls it the transition period, which lasts until December 2020.
During this period nothing will change, except that the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. The bill makes this explicit: the European Communities Act, which puts the obligations of membership in British law, will continue to apply.
Parliament will have a say over trade deal negotiations
The bill gives parliament control of the negotiating mandate for the long-term trade deal with the EU (the “future relationship” in the jargon). It says ministers may not engage in negotiations unless a statement of objectives has been approved by the House of Commons, and that ministers “must seek to achieve” those objectives.
‘Parliamentary Sovereignty’ Clause
That portion sounds ominous. But Johnson negotiated a pair of escape clauses.
The bill includes a clause that begins: “It is recognised that the parliament of the United Kingdom is sovereign.” This is persiflage designed to keep the sillier Eurosceptics happy. They do not like the continuing application of EU law during the transition period, or the eight-year phase-out of European Court of Justice jurisdiction over some EU citizenship questions.
Trap Door Clause
The bill gives parliament a say if the UK government decides to ask for an extension. But many MPs are worried that Boris Johnson wouldn’t ask for one, opening a “trapdoor” to a delayed no-deal Brexit if there is no trade deal with the EU in place by the end of 2020.
If Johnson does not like the negotiations, at the end of 2020 he can walk away with No Deal, more accurately, a WTO Deal.
Trap Door to No Deal
CNN reported Labour Says Johnson’s Plan is a “Trap Door to No-Deal”.
Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour Party’s lead spokesman on Brexit, has been addressing MPs. Much of his speech has focused on the trustworthiness of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Starmer also echoes the fear of many Labour lawmakers and some Conservatives – that a no-deal Brexit could happen at the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020 if a free trade agreement is not concluded with the EU by then.
Johnson’s deal is a “trap door to no-deal,” Starmer said.
Amendments to get rid of the Trap Door failed. In fact, the WA was never approved. If Johnson’s deal is approved, it will still contain the Trap Door.
Labour is not the only one worried about the Trap Door. Ken Clarke, an exiled Tory, also expressed concerns over the Trap Door.
Labour and Farage cannot both be right. Advantage goes to Labour.
The UK, can at the end of 2020 simply walk away with a WTO arrangement. Thus, Johnson is in control. He can always walk away if he believes the political declaration is binding.
The Trap Door is in fact what makes the EU likely to negotiate a reasonable deal.
Conclusion: At best, point 10 is a huge distortion of the truth, if not another outright lie.
The breakup fee was not in the Withdrawal Agreement by design as explained by the UK Parliament document Brexit: The Financial Settlement.
In the financial settlement (the settlement), the UK and EU have set out how they will settle their outstanding financial obligations to each other, which arise out of the UK’s participation in the EU budget and broader aspects of its EU membership. The media have labelled the issue the ‘exit bill’ or ‘divorce bill’, the EU see it as a matter of ‘settling the accounts’.
The settlement sets out the financial commitments that will be covered, the methodology for calculating the UK’s share and the payment schedule. It forms part of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) negotiated between Theresa May’s government and the EU. No changes were made in the WA negotiated between Boris Johnson’s government and the EU. The WA will become legally binding only once approved by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.
Definitive figures of the settlement can’t be calculated as it depends on future events, such as future exchange rates and actual EU budgets, but estimates have been produced. The latest estimate is that the settlement could cost the UK around £33 billion, based on an exit date of 31 October 2019. This is lower than the widely cited estimate of £39 billion, which was based on an exit date of 29 March 2019. Delaying Brexit means that the UK makes more payments to the EU as a Member State but fewer through the settlement. The net effect for UK payments to the EU is zero.
The official Brexit blog explains things this way: “The £39bn payment demanded is likely to be just the start, with billions more to follow.”
However, Johnson did give a speech stating 65 billion. You can play the video at The Express.
That’s a lie.
Nigel Farage says PM’s Deal Would be a ‘Disaster’ for Scots.
The article did not say why.
I suggest Scotland would be no better off on a hard Brexit than under Johnson’s deal.
In regards to SNP, Farage is right about this: “You cannot be independent if you’re governed from the European court of justice. You cannot be independent if you’re in the EU’s customs union and single market. You cannot be independent if you’re governed by Monsieur Barnier and Mr. Juncker.”
If you believe Johnson threw Ireland under the bus, you finally have a strong point.
DUP wanted a veto of the arrangement but the EU could not grant that because DUP in and of itself would effectively have a veto over some EU policies.
But even them Johnson negotiated an exit as explained by Bloomberg.
Unlike May’s deal, which could have left Northern Ireland in the EU customs union indefinitely, Johnson has negotiated an exit route: The Northern Ireland Assembly will be able to vote on whether to go on applying EU rules. But that can’t happen until four years after the transition period finishes – so the end of 2024 at the earliest.
Northern Ireland will be trapped for four years. It is difficult to say precisely what will happen.
Johnson’s deal was a red line for DUP. It has 10 of the Northern Ireland seats in the UK parliament. 7 are held by Sinn Fein nationalists, and 1 is independent.
Theresa May got tangled up because she needed DUP votes to stay in power.
Question of Trust
If you believe Johnson will not negotiate sincerely or will cave in to EU demand, I am not going to change your mind.
However, Johnson negotiated the best deal possible with the EU once Theresa May gave away the farm.
At a minimum, Johnson negotiated a deal that has the option of walking away. The EU significantly changed the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration.
This is despite enormous pressure from Remainers and deal advocates.
Had Johnson pressed for No Deal, it is a political certainty that Remainers would have defeated the effort for something far worse than Johnson’s deal.
Many Labour MPs regret not having passed some deal, even Theresa May’s deal so they could campaign against it.
Instead we have elections Johnson is poised to win.
Pack of Lies
Regardless of what you think Johnson will do, Farage’s 10 key points are a huge pack of lies and distortions.
Johnson Farage Alliance?
It is not at all clear that Johnson could unite with Farage to deliver a No Deal Brexit.
There has been so much fearmongering and there are so many Tories who wanted a deal to conclude for sure that a Johnson-Farage lighting rod alliance would carry the day.
The best move for Farage would be to declare victory for his 30-year effort and move on.
He could even ask for or insist on some items in the upcoming negotiations, say fishing rights.
Instead, I suspect the Brexit Party will win zero seats while Farage moans from the sidelines.
WTO Deal On the Table
The Guardian Live reports the prime minister abandoned his pledge to give MPs a vote on whether or not to extend the Brexit transition beyond January 31 , 2020.
“We aren’t extending the implementation period. There is no reason whatsoever why we will not secure a deal by that date. Both the UK and the EU are committed to reaching a trade agreement by that date and that is what we are going to do,” said Johnson
The announcement led to claims Boris Johnson was planning to force through a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson committed to giving parliament a vote if they would pass his deal. They refused. That offer is no longer on the table.
Bluff? Who knows. But at a minimum it will give the EU something to think about including a preliminary agreement which the WTO allows.