Morning Briefing: Norway Plus not an option - Labour's Brexit plan won't work - no deal is a no go
With the prime minister at a loss what to do to save her Brexit deal (see below), some politicians are pushing the so-called “Norway Plus” scheme - which would involve staying in the EU’s single market and customs union but without any votes on its rules or trade policies. This would be bad for the British people and the national interest, as a new paper from the People’s Vote campaign published today shows.
What’s more, as David Miliband and Jo Johnson write in their forward to the report: “Some of the claims made for ‘Norway Plus’ are in danger of repeating the deeply misleading promises made for Brexit two years ago.”
The problems with Norway Plus are:
- It is politically unrealistic. Both the government and Jeremy Corbyn (most recently in today’s Guardian) reject it.
- We’d still have to sign up for the notorious “backstop”, which will keep us in the customs union indefinitely.
- It would take years to negotiate. That would prolong uncertainty, which would be bad for the investment and economy.
- The UK would have no vote or veto over new laws.
- We would have less control, not more, over free movement because we would no longer be able to shape the rules.
- We would suffer taxation without representation. We’d end up paying roughly as much as we do now but would no longer sit round the table saying how it is spent.
- We would probably mimic the Common Fisheries and Common Agricultural Policies, but without a say over their rules.
- The UK would lose our influence over the EU’s trade policy, while not gaining an independent trade policy.
- We would be in a one-side customs union which gave other countries that have EU trade deals access to our market but no guarantee that our firms could get access to their markets.
- It wouldn’t unite the country or help us move on from Brexit because the arguments would go on and on.
No patriot could sign up to such a scheme. It is a blind alley. If the government’s deal is rejected next week, as it should be, MPs should have no truck with Norway Plus. Instead, they should move rapidly to back a People’s Vote.
Video of the Day
Quote of the day
“What do you want to do, Prime Minister?”
Amber Rudd asks at the emergency cabinet meeting, only to receive a “non-committal” reply.
Tweet of the Day
Peter Kyle MP for Hove is on to something. The government's deal has got to be one of the most unifying pieces of legislation because MP’s on both sides hate it! Meanwhile MP’s on both sides of the chamber are backing a People’s Vote because they don’t want to accept this daft deal. Make sure your MP knows what you think HERE.
Labour’s alternative Brexit won’t work
Jeremy Corbyn attempts to sell Labour’s alternative Brexit deal in the Guardian today. Interestingly, the Labour leader’s column was originally titled “Labour could do a better Brexit deal. Give us the chance - or give the people another vote” - before the final clause was dropped. A telling sign of how close the party are to throwing their weight behind a People’s Vote?
Labour’s alternative proposal looks like a non-starter anyway. Corbyn wants “a new, comprehensive customs union with the EU” and “a British say in future trade deals”. He also wants “a new and strong relationship with the single market” but setting our own immigration policies. And, unlike the Norway option, Corbyn claims the UK won’t be an “across-the-board rule-taker of EU regulations”. Altogether, that’s a lot of cherry picking and wishful thinking that the EU is unlikely to agree to.
At this stage, however, Labour may just be going through the motions. They need to look like they have an alternative to the government’s deal. But, as Keir Starmer said, after that deal is voted down his party must “move quickly through the gears” and end up at a People’s Vote.
No deal is a no go
Crashing out of the EU with no deal at all is looking less and less likely. Moderate Tory cabinet ministers including Philip Hammond, Greg Clarke and David Gauke are ramping up their opposition to crashing out. Dominic Grieve’s amendment on Tuesday also makes “no deal” much less realistic. It gave MPs the power to amend any new government proposal after its deal was rejected - and there is no majority for “no deal” in the Commons.
Meanwhile Labour MPs are being reassured that no deal is a “political hoax”, according to The Times. Labour’s policy chief, Mike Hatchett, who was a middle-ranking official at the Brexit department, is thought to have convinced Jeremy Corbyn that there is no prospect that a Conservative government will allow the UK to leave the EU without a deal.
More Brexit news…
Loss of EU crime data causes alarm (Times £)
Peter Mandelson: 11 reasons why a Norway-style Brexit would be a disaster for Britain (The New European)
John Kerr: I drafted article 50. We can and must delay Brexit for a referendum (The Guardian)
Fraser Nelson: In what could be the final days of May's premiership, Operation Stop Boris is already in full swing (Telegraph)
Today, Friday 7th December
|-||Parliament not sitting|
Tomorrow, Saturday 8th December
|-||People's Vote Action Day|