• Chequers Agreement

    24 July 2018

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about the agreement reached at Chequers on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

    I appreciate your strength of feeling on the agreement but I do not believe that there is a workable alternative that respects the referendum, delivers the Government's commitments on Northern Ireland and preserves the constitutional integrity of the UK. I strongly believe that the Prime Minister's proposals represent a realistic and practical vision that delivers the referendum decision in full.

    The UK will leave the EU, including the Single Market and the Customs Union on 29 March 2019. As we leave the EU, free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will no longer apply and the days of sending vast sums of money to Brussels every year are over for good. We will also leave the Common Agriculture Policy and the Commons Fisheries Policy and we will once again be able to strike our own trade deals.

    The Chequers agreement provides a commitment for the UK to maintain a common rule book on industrial goods and agricultural products so that we have a free trade area with the EU, but it will be Parliament that has a final say on any new rules or regulations. These rules have been relatively stable since the 1980s and the Government has always been clear that UK standards should be as high, if not higher, than those of the EU and so I believe that having a common rule book as a minimum is a reasonable proposal.

    Having common rules on goods, as well as a new business friendly customs model, will also ensure that there is no hard border in Northern Ireland or any border down the Irish Sea and that the integrity of our precious United Kingdom is safeguarded.

    The EU, in contrast, had effectively proposed to keep Northern Ireland in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market. The Prime Minister had always been clear that such a move, damaging the integrity of the UK, was completely unacceptable. The EU's other option would have been for all of the UK to stay in the European Economic Area and the Customs Union, keeping free movement and accepting all EU laws. This was also unacceptable.

    It is important to remember that nearly 80 per cent of the UK economy is based on services such as finance, accounting and law. These will not be affected by proposals on a common rule book and the Government wants to be free to ensure the UK can maintain its world leading position on services in the future. There will also be a parliamentary lock on new regulations, restoring the sovereignty of Parliament.

    The Prime Minister has allowed Cabinet ministers considerable latitude to express individual opinions on EU policy up to now but the Chequers agreement means that this is no longer the case. Collective responsibility is now fully restored. It is right and absolutely vital that the Government is able to negotiate with one voice at this critical stage of talks.

    I believe that this is a good deal for Britain, for the British people and for businesses in this country. If, however, we cannot reach agreement with the EU, the Prime Minister is clear that no deal remains better than a bad deal. Preparations for this are being intensified and I wholeheartedly agree with this approach.

    And after we leave, we will want to continue working with the EU on security issues while having an independent foreign and defence policy.

    The Chequers agreement contains sensible, common-sense proposals that deliver on the Brexit promises that people voted for, works for businesses and ensures we take back control of our borders, law and money.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General