PMQs: Boris Johnson slams SNP over Brexit ‘policy’
Joshua Curiel had previously been involved in pro-EU campaigns and called for a second referendum on the UK’s membership with the bloc. But all attempts from Remainers were crushed when the Prime Minister took Britain out of the EU on January 31, 2020, delivering on his general election manifesto promise to “Get Brexit Done”. The two sides then entered a transition period and open talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, which also saw the UK continued to be tied to Brussels’ rules on the Customs Union and Single Market.
Despite negotiations appearing to be on the verge of collapse on several occasions, a deal was announced on Christmas Eve, with the UK cutting all ties with the bloc on New Year’s Eve.
But sharing a link to a column he has written for The Daily Telegraph, now-former Remainer Mr Curiel tweeted: “Never thought that I’d be saying something positive about Brexit in the @Telegraph, but I am.
“There’s no going back now. And we need to work together (Brexiteers and Remainers) to make it as positive as it can be!”
In his article, Mr Curiel begins by stating that depending on which side of the EU referendum vote you ask, “the new Brexit trade agreement is either a) an outrageous betrayal on the scale of Jason and Medes, or b) a triumph that will free us from EU regulations so draconian that Kafka himself could scarcely have dreamt them up”.
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He makes clear that had he been old enough to vote during the EU referendum in June 2016, he would have voted Remain and up until a deal was announced on Christmas Eve, “was worried that the new trade agreement would be ruinous”.
But Mr Curiel admitted that the post-Brexit trade deal Mr Johnson agreed with the EU is “better than anything I’d imagined over the years since the referendum”.
He wrote: “The 1,246-page Brexit trade agreement has been described as “needlessly long” and “turgid”, but it’s remarkable how it has achieved the twin results of regaining sovereignty (at least, legally) – “taking back control” – and keeping our “special relationship” with the EU.
“If I had been old enough to vote in 2016, I would have voted Remain.
“More recently, I even backed a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.
“Until 24 December, I, too, was worried that the new trade agreement would be ruinous.
“But, in truth, the deal is better than anything I’d imagined over the years since the referendum.”
Mr Curiel then highlights three benefits to the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
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He said: “First, it takes the UK back to its position before the Maastricht Treaty – an agreement that extended the EU’s power to influence UK law – was signed.
“Second, those negotiating the deal on behalf of the UK have added a clause allowing Britain to deviate from the agreement after talks with the EU. How this will be enforced is unclear.
“And third, it’s a far cry from a no deal Brexit.”
He agreed with the admission from the UK’s team of special advisers who he said described the “export rules” as “standard” and warned it would have been “wishful thinking” to believe the UK would have left the EU inn immediately stronger position.
Mr Curiel said: “‘All choices are in our hands’, said the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost, ‘and it’s now up to us to decide how we go forward in the future’.
“Yes, the French Minister Clément Beune said that ‘there is no country in the world that will be subject to as many export rules to us as the UK’.
“But the UK’s team of special advisers described the ‘export rules’ as ‘standard’. And they are standard.
“It would have been wishful thinking to imagine that we’d come out of Brexit immediately stronger than we were before it.”
But he adds: “The devil, of course, is in the detail. If Britain loses a dispute over food standards or cars, then tariffs may well be imposed on those areas.
“This ‘punishment clause’, however, falls short of the imagined repercussion that many were worried about.
“Moreover, this agreement is designed to be dynamic. Little is fixed in place.
“Though, there is little by way of defence cooperation, for example, the EU may integrate third parties into its defence programme. As Ashis Ray wrote in the Spectator, the future may lie with India.”
The former Remainer concluded his article by admitting: “I hate to admit it, but it looks like my Brexit-voting father was right.
“If we work hard and keep a positive attitude, Britain can be better off post-Brexit.”
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