White smoke: PM hails "business-friendly" Brexit position as Cabinet unites

Lester Mason
July 7, 2018

But under the Government's plans the United Kingdom would be free to diverge from EU rules over services, a major part of the British economy, with ministers acknowledging this will reduce the levels of access available to European markets.

Ministers also stepped up preparations for a "no deal" on Brexit as Brussels will be reluctant to consider any plan which would risk splitting the single market.

However, after a day of crunch talks, the cabinet agreed to step up preparations for a "no-deal" Brexit.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May commences a meeting with her cabinet to discuss the government's Brexit plans at Chequers, the Prime Minister's official country residence, near Aylesbury, Britain, on July 6, 2018.

The prime minister faced a split as her cabinet and advisers arrived at Chequers on Friday morning, with Brexit Secretary David Davis understood to have serious reservations about the plan, and whether Brussels would even consider it.

Instead, they had agreed to negotiate for a "free trade area for goods", one that would see Britain having a "common rule book for all goods" in a combined customs territory.

But it is understood that all members of the Cabinet have signed up to the proposals.

Shadow worldwide trade secretary Barry Gardiner: "There is a danger that this is a lowest common denominator plan that has really been constructed to hold the Cabinet together rather than to secure the strong negotiating position that we need with the European Union, that will create jobs, that will create growth in our economy".

Although there had been concerns about the knock-on effect such a position would have on the UK's ability to strike trade deals with the likes of the United States, there were enough "soothing words in there for Leavers", one source said.

"This maintains high standards in these areas, but we will also ensure that no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament".

Avoiding the need for a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland or within the UK.

The plan says it would avoid checks on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and protect manufacturing supply lines, while also fulfilling domestic promises to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), control migration and allow Britain to establish its own trade policy.

This avoids a hard Irish border, and removes the need for "backstop" arrangements to be put in place before the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, the government says.

'We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world.

A "joint institutional framework" would interpret UK-EU agreements, but UK courts would have to show "due regard paid to EU case law" on goods harmonisation rules.

A post-Brexit UK would be able to "control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world" without causing border disruption.

The jurisdiction of the European court of justice (ECJ) over the United Kingdom will end, but trade would be subject to binding independent arbitration in the event of any disputes- and crucially the United Kingdom would take regard of the ECJ as "the interpreter of EU rules".

Mrs May says her White Paper will be published next week.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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