Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Brexit politics

PM May tries to explain why Brexit is a good idea to the association of the UK's top business people at the Confederation of British Industry meeting.

Brexit plan will stop EU migrants 'jumping the queue'
Theresa May is renewing her efforts to sell her draft Brexit withdrawal agreement - saying it will stop EU migrants "jumping the queue".

She said migration would become skills-based, with Europeans no longer prioritised over "engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi".

The PM also insisted to business leaders at the CBI that the withdrawal deal had been "agreed in full"…

There has been widespread criticism of the draft 585-page withdrawal agreement - and the short paper setting out what the UK and EU's future relationship could look like - which are set to be finalised and signed off at an EU summit this weekend.

Two of the prime minister's cabinet ministers resigned over the proposed deal, while others are believed to be trying to change its wording.

Speculation continues over whether the number of Tory MPs submitting letters of no-confidence in Mrs May will reach the 48 required to trigger a confidence vote on her leadership of the Conservative Party.

Why are people unhappy with the deal?

The draft document sets out the terms of the UK's departure, including how much money will be paid to the EU, details of the transition period, and citizens' rights.

The transition period - currently due to last until 31 December 2020 - will mean the UK is officially out of the EU, but still abiding by most of its rules. During this time, the two sides hope to negotiate a permanent trade deal.

The UK and the EU want to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border whatever happens, so they agreed to a "backstop" - described as an insurance policy by Mrs May - aimed at achieving this if the sides cannot agree a trade deal that avoids a physically visible border.

The backstop would mean Northern Ireland would stay more closely aligned to some EU rules, which critics say is unacceptable. And the whole of the UK would be in a single custom territory - effectively keeping the whole of the UK in the EU customs union.

The critics say that during the transition period, the UK will still abide by most of the EU's rules but have no power over setting them - and there is no system for the UK being able to leave any backstop deal without the EU's agreement, so it could become a permanent arrangement…

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