The talk is that the PM is secretly negotiating away any future UK autonomy and locking the country into permanent EU servitude.
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There is still speculation that the UK government is negotiating for the country to remain under EU control for much longer than the 21 month transition period already agreed.
But it seems that the PM is trying to reassure Brexiteers that she will not be signing up to some sort of eternal Irish backstop arrangement that would tether the UK to the EU via some sort of customs union for ever-more.
Talk that she was planning such a move had sparked rumours that ministers such as Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom were deeply unhappy about it and it was entering ministerial resignation territory for them.
Mrs May’s spokeswoman said:
“The prime minister would never agree to a deal which would trap the UK in a backstop permanently.”
And the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, while talking to Bloomberg said:
“We are not going to remain in anything indefinitely, we are very clear this has to be a temporary period.”
Philip Hammond also predicted that there will be a Brexit dividend, if we are able to secure a deal with the EU.
But in a warning, the UKIP leader, Gerard Batten Tweeted:
“Mrs May intends to betray Brexit. Her aim has always been to reach an agreement whereby we leave in name only. Then in a few years time the UK can be taken back into the EU. Those who genuinely want to leave the EU should join UKIP. We will continue the struggle -come what May.”
And the former leader, Nigel Farage, Tweeted:
“Whether Mrs May’s customs union plan is permanent or happens for a few years, it should not be happening at all and is a betrayal of the Brexit vote. This Prime Minister says one thing and then does another.”
And Tory Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen, who has already submitted his letter of no confidence in Theresa May to the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee, told the BBC Politics Live show:
“Colleagues are telling me that a lot of Brexiteers are being invited for dinner and lunch at Number 10 next week, so I guess there is bad news on the way.”
Now, the latest and fourth set of government Brexit impact statements has been released, which I haven’t had time to look into properly yet.
Now, the pro-EU Brexit reversal lobby keep claiming that we can wave a ‘take back Article 50’ magic wand and everything will go back to how it was before with all the opt-outs and rebates etc.
Well, the EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther Oettinger, has poured a large bucket of cold water on that one.
As far as he is concerned, if the UK rows back on Brexit he says that we can’t keep ‘the mother of all rebates’ – the only permanent rebate in the EU.
“Gunther Oettinger said on Friday that he would find it “absolutely fabulous” if British voters decided to remain in the EU through a second referendum. Reports Yahoo Finance.
“But he dealt a blow to campaigners calling for a ‘people’s vote’ by confirming the UK would have to pay more into the EU budget if it remained.”
Oettinger has long been targeting all rebates for elimination and said in January that Brexit would be a good opportunity to achieve this. Although the UK has the only permanent rebate, other states do benefit from negotiated temporary rebates.
But he also said that the UK would be paying into the EU coffers should it end up remaining in the customs union.
“Should the UK, or part of the UK, permanently or temporarily remain in the customs union then they will be treated in equal fashion as regards all their rights and obligations.” He said.
So one assumes that should should a decision be made to keep the UK in the or a customs union with the EU or enter into talks to extend Article 50 or even reverse Brexit, it will cost the UK untold billions.