With­drawal deal and trade talks should be linked

Glo­ri­ous Glouces­ter­shire John Rus­sell took this pic­ture at Stan­ton

Gloucestershire Echo - - LETTER & OPINION -

✒ FROM the way peo­ple talk about no deal, any­one would think the deal in ques­tion was a trade deal, but it is not.

The With­drawal Agree­ment prom­ises we’ll pay £39 bil­lion for – what? For per­mis­sion to leave the EU. “Tip your hat to the kind gen­tle­men. Yes sirs, thank you sirs.”

No won­der Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt says we can­not start talks on a trade deal un­til we have paid up.

Once we have given up our main bar­gain­ing chip, he knows we shall have to ac­cept what­ever deal the EU of­fers us.

For ex­am­ple, there will be no hope of re­cov­er­ing our fish­ing rights.

This may not con­cern the peo­ple of Chel­tenham, but it will be dev­as­tat­ing for our poor coastal com­mu­ni­ties.

Ed­ward Heath was so des­per­ate to join the EEC that the six (as they were then) knew they could get him to ac­cept a fish­ing deal so harsh that Nor­way pulled out of the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

On the first day of ne­go­ti­a­tions in 2017, the EU in­sisted on sep­a­rat­ing the di­vorce agree­ment from trade talks, a lu­di­crous idea, but for some rea­son we ac­cepted it.

How can we know what would be a fair di­vorce deal be­fore we know what trade deal we are to get? “Noth­ing’s agreed un­til ev­ery­thing’s agreed.”

Par­lia­ment has wasted a year talk­ing about a deal so bad David Davies and Boris John­son re­signed when they heard about it.

In­stead we could have been ne­go­ti­at­ing a trade deal along­side the di­vorce deal.

This would have had the ad­van­tage of sort­ing out trade with Ire­land be­fore we left.

Even now, the so­lu­tion to the cur­rent im­passe is to start trade talks straight away. Peter Eyres Chel­tenham

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