• Brexit - A New Deal

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    21 October 2019

    The PM has negotiated a new deal with the European Union – something his critics said that he wasn’t serious about and wouldn’t be possible anyway because the EU wouldn’t re-open the withdrawal agreement and the clock was inching closer to midnight. He has proved them wrong. He and our negotiating team have worked tirelessly to put together a deal that will protect our economy, end the supremacy of EU law when we leave and should see us leave on October 31st, avoiding more delays and uncertainty.

    So, what’s changed? The key is a new arrangement for Northern Ireland which protects the peace process, avoids a hard border but scraps the ‘backstop’ which proved to be a sticking point with Theresa May’s deal. Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK customs territory but also have access to the Single Market. It was inevitable that Northern Ireland would need a special arrangement as it is unique in being both part of the UK and sharing a land border with another country. This arrangement will be underpinned by the principle of democratic consent, with the Northern Ireland Assembly having the ability to leave the special arrangement via a democratic vote.

    As a result of this new deal, European Court supremacy will end in Britain. It will be our courts, applying our laws, which will be the highest authority in the land. Nor will we be subject to EU law – we will be able to change VAT rules and other tax laws that are currently determined by Brussels and change our laws regarding fishing rules, product standards, and farming subsidies. Representing a hugely rural constituency where agriculture is a key industry, the latter is particularly important to me. I have long argued that EU subsidies favour large farms with hundreds of employees over small farms and that environmental issues should be prioritised. Ultimately, it does seem that the deal delivers what was promised by the Leave Campaign during the referendum – to take back control of our money, our laws and our borders but also holds out the real prospect of a strong trade deal with the EU which is something that remain voters such as myself are particularly keen upon.

    All that said, the big challenge remains - getting the deal through the Commons. So far, finding a majority in relation to Brexit has been rather less than easy. Last week Parliament gave the deal partial support but insisted that an extension to Article 50 be requested now and until the end of January next year.  At the time of writing things are moving fast and it may be that much will have changed since the time of writing. We need to get this deal done and leave. A deal will provide businesses with the certainty they are crying out for and allow us to turn our attention to the big and important domestic issues.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit