PM secures deal

  • Today’s deal is the result of much hard work on the part of the PM and her team. It is to be welcomed that we can now move onto trade and transition negotiations, which should begin as soon as possible.
  • We should remember that, as one of Europe’s largest economies, a successful trade deal is in the interests of both parties. The EU sells us more than we sell to them.

Ireland

  • It is good that both sides have agreed to avoid a hard border, and it is clear from the text of the deal that this will be respected.
  • However, is crucial that ‘full alignment’ of regulations does not come to mean membership of the Single Market and Customs Union by another name. The wording of the text must mean that the UK does not become a rule-taker.
  • As Gisela Stuart set out yesterday: ‘The referendum result was a vote for the UK to take back control of its laws. If we have to accept an agreement where our laws continue to be written in Brussels – without elected British representatives having any say over them – this would clearly be incompatible with that result.’ (Order Order, December 2017, link).

ECJ

  • It is good that the jurisdiction of the ECJ over EU citizens’ rights has been time limited, with a sunset clause of 8 years.

Financial Settlement

  • Whilst it’s encouraging that progress has been made in the negotiations, it is important that any financial settlement covers only what we owe the EU, and it must also reflect what Brussels owes the UK. Taxpayers will rightly feel aggrieved if they have to pay over the odds.
  • It should be noted that neither the UK nor EU have confirmed a final figure.
  • It is also important to recognise that if we had stayed in the EU, the UK would have paid this sum as well as billions more every year. Since 2000, we have given €100bn more to the EU than we got back.

Good economic news

  • Export of goods have risen in every region of the UK new figures show. The figures include a rise of 14% in England and 19% in Scotland (Daily Mail, December 2017, link).
  • Lidl has created 2,500 jobs in the UK over the last year. New filings at Companies House show that the German discount retailer now employs more than 19,000 staff in the UK (Daily Mail, December 2017, link).