The PM and her supporters have (presumably tactically) focused attention on the Backstop as the main problem, so that minor concessions here can be presented as resolving the problem. But the WA itself are themselves full of dangers.
- Trade arrangements under the backstop would be worse than WTO terms – minimal gains with a complete loss of freedom of action and the UK dropping out of EU free trade deals with third countries
- The WA mandates that any permanent trade deal must build on the ‘single customs territory’ created by the backstop. That means the only permanent deal the EU will accept will be a customs union – the most economically sub-optimal deal for the UK
- The ‘backstop’ will allow the EU to restrict UK government support to agriculture and defence industries while placing no restrictions on the EU in these areas
- The ‘backstop’ requires the UK to be a rule-taker from the EU in huge areas, not just trade but also competition, environmental, social and even tax policies
- The ‘backstop’ places GB and NI in two separate customs territories and creates both a customs and regulatory border in the Irish sea; it makes NI in many ways a protectorate of the Republic, with alarming political implications for the United Kingdom.
- The WA is an international treaty with no exit clause – once it is signed, the UK cannot escape its provisions unless it accepts a permanent arrangement beneficial to the EU or breaks international law, with potentially huge political and financial costs
- The WA proposes a defence arrangement which will subordinate the UK’s defence and security structure to EU control and endanger UK security ties with its main allies
- The WA will maintain the rule of the European Court of Justice – which will be a foreign court – over large areas of UK national life
Martin Howe QC shows unambiguously that complacent arguments and assurances given by the government and others concerning the WA are legally unfounded
Graham Gudgin and Harry Western give 14 reasons why a Customs Union with the EU – the likely long term outcome of the WA — would be disastrous:
Turkey, as a non-EU member of the Customs Union, shows in actual practice the huge disadvantages that Britain too would suffer if we fell into this same trap
The restrictions imposed on us would be ruinous for British farming, as the WA limits aid to British farmers while allowing more highly subsidised EU imports to enter their home market