The price of free­dom

 Di­vorce bill of up to £39bn  3m EU cit­i­zens to be al­lowed to stay in Bri­tain and bring their fam­i­lies  Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice to have role in rights of EU cit­i­zens un­til 2029  No hard bor­der be­tween N Ire­land and Repub­lic  UK to mir­ror sin­gle mar

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page -

By Gor­don Rayner, Christo­pher Hope and Pe­ter Foster THE British pub­lic will be given their say on the EU deal at the next elec­tion and a fu­ture gov­ern­ment will be able to move away from Theresa May’s Brexit agree­ment, Michael Gove says to­day.

In an ar­ti­cle for The Daily Tele­graph, the En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary, who was a lead­ing fig­ure in the Leave cam­paign, wel­comes the Prime Min­is­ter’s pre­lim­i­nary deal with the EU.

He says that af­ter the two-year tran­si­tion pe­riod pro­posed by both sides, Bri­tain will have the “full free­dom to di­verge from EU law on the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union”.

How­ever, as talks be­gin on longterm Euro­pean re­la­tions, Mr Gove says that if the May ad­min­is­tra­tion proves too cau­tious, the elec­torate will po­ten­tially be able to de­mand a more rad­i­cal split. “The British peo­ple will be in con­trol,” he writes. “If the British peo­ple dis­like the agree­ment that we have ne­go­ti­ated with the EU, the agree­ment will al­low a fu­ture gov­ern­ment to di­verge.”

Mrs May faces a Cab­i­net bat­tle over Bri­tain’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU af­ter yes­ter­day’s deal led to claims that a “very soft” Brexit had be­come in­evitable.

Mrs May achieved a break­through when Brus­sels agreed that Bri­tain had made “suf­fi­cient progress” on di­vorce talks to move on to the next phase, cov­er­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod and trade. She agreed to pay a “di­vorce bill” of up to £39bil­lion and give res­i­dency rights to about three mil­lion EU cit­i­zens. Mean­while, the EU said that it ex­pected Bri­tain to re­main in the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union for at least two years af­ter Brexit.

The Prime Min­is­ter has called a Cab­i­net meet­ing for next week, to be fol­lowed by an­other ses­sion on Dec 19, for min­is­ters to dis­cuss Bri­tain’s fi­nal re­la­tion­ship with the EU.

The is­sue has been fudged so far, with high-pro­file Brex­i­teers in­clud­ing Mr Gove and Boris John­son ad­vo­cat­ing reg­u­la­tory free­dom, while oth­ers, in­clud­ing the Chan­cel­lor, are said to favour a strat­egy that keeps Bri­tain aligned more closely to the EU. One se­nior source said that the “real bat­tle be­gins now” and that the “heart and soul of Brexit is now at stake”.

Prais­ing Mrs May in the ar­ti­cle, ap­proved by Down­ing Street, Mr Gove said the break­through had been made “thanks to the Prime Min­is­ter’s tenac­ity and skill”. How­ever, he added that it was “im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the of­fer we are mak­ing is de­pen­dent on se­cur­ing what we want in the next stage of ne­go­ti­a­tions”.

He ex­pressed con­fi­dence that “from the day we leave, we will be able to spend more on our own do­mes­tic pri­or­i­ties such as hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and the NHS”. He added that, out­side the EU: “We will have the free­dom to ne­go­ti­ate and sign trade agree­ments with other coun­tries around the world, and to reg­u­late our own in­ter­na­tional trade pol­icy with­out be­ing fet­tered by EU law or the ju­ris­dic­tion of the ECJ.”

How­ever Leo Varad­kar, the Ir­ish prime min­is­ter, said he be­lieved the EU was “fun­nelling” Brexit talks into a sit­u­a­tion where the whole of the UK would “re­main in align­ment” with the bloc on lots of reg­u­la­tions.

Last night se­nior EU fig­ures warned Mrs May that she must unite her Cab­i­net be­hind a shared vi­sion by Christ­mas if trade talks are to be­gin, as in­tended, in Fe­bru­ary. Don­ald Tusk, the Euro­pean Coun­cil pres­i­dent, said “more clar­ity” was needed “on how the UK sees our fu­ture re­la­tions”. One EU source said “what the UK has been say­ing so far still en­tails a num­ber of in­ter­nal con­tra­dic­tions”.

One source among Cab­i­net Re­main­ers

‘From the day we leave, we will be able to spend more on our own do­mes­tic pri­or­i­ties such as hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and the NHS’

said: “The Prime Min­is­ter has done very well so far. But de­cid­ing on the end state is go­ing to be more tricky. It’s more likely that the Brex­i­teers will walk out if they don’t get their way than Re­main­ers do­ing that, so she is go­ing to have to find some ground that keeps Boris and Gove from do­ing a He­sel­tine.”

A source in the Leave camp said: “Ev­ery­thing has been mov­ing to­wards the point where we fi­nally have to make a de­ci­sion on what we want, and that will be the crunch mo­ment.”

There are con­cerns among Euroscep­tics over a clause in the doc­u­ment that pledges “full align­ment” be­tween Bri­tain and the EU if no al­ter­na­tive deal is reached. Iain Dun­can Smith, the Leave-sup­port­ing former Tory leader, said there would be “heavy punches thrown” dur­ing the next phase of talks.

SIR – At the last minute a deal has been reached to let the se­cond stage of Brexit talks take place. Quelle sur­prise!

Fol­low­ing the usual pat­tern, Theresa May, the Prime Min­is­ter, will make a tri­umphant state­ment to the House on Mon­day pro­claim­ing her suc­cess and slowly, over next few days and weeks, the true level of her ca­pit­u­la­tion will be re­vealed.

Thirty years on, the re­lease of gov­ern­ment papers will show just how much the cit­i­zens of the UK have been de­lib­er­ately mis­led by the politi­cians and their ad­min­is­tra­tors, just as dis­closed in the Heath papers. Philip Honey

Lound, Not­ting­hamshire

SIR – Af­ter days of neg­a­tive press re­ports, Mrs May should now be given the credit where credit is due. An­thony Haslam

Farn­ham, Sur­rey

SIR – The only win­ners from Mrs May’s sur­ren­der to the EU (lightly dis­guised as ne­go­ti­a­tions) are the EU it­self, Mrs May (po­lit­i­cally, at least for the short term) and her Re­mainer col­leagues.

How can agree­ing to tie the United King­dom to EU stan­dards (reg­u­la­tory equiv­a­lence) mean Brexit? Mrs May’s deal sim­ply means we will con­tinue to pose no com­pet­i­tive threat to the EU and re­main fet­tered to its scle­rotic reg­u­la­tory dys­func­tion.

The whole point of Brexit is to be free from EU fet­ters so we can forge an in­de­pen­dent iden­tity and pros­per­ity with open trade across the world. Ni­cholas Dob­son

Bes­sacarr, South York­shire

SIR – Mrs May says there has been give and take on both sides. We’ve seen that, us­ing our money, she is the side that gives; the EU is the side that takes. Martin Burgess

Beck­en­ham, Kent

SIR – At last Mrs May, the elected leader of the UK’S elected Gov­ern­ment, has been given per­mis­sion by the un­elected pres­i­dent of the un­elected Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to move on, as Nigel Farage ob­serves, to the next stage of her (and the UK’S) hu­mil­i­a­tion. John GU Clark

Southamp­ton

SIR – What does Brexit mean? I know what it didn’t mean when I voted for it.

It didn’t mean “con­tin­u­ing reg­u­la­tory align­ment”. It didn’t mean hand­ing over £761 for ev­ery man, woman and child in the UK for the priv­i­lege of leav­ing. It didn’t mean sub­ju­gat­ing our­selves to the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice.

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion ap­pears to be an at­tempt by the po­lit­i­cal classes to thwart the ex­press will of the peo­ple. In so do­ing, they are play­ing with fire. Tony Mor­ris

New­cas­tle upon Tyne

SIR – It seems the UK will con­tinue to have no con­trol over im­mi­gra­tion from the EU and that Par­lia­ment will rub­ber stamp laws is­sued by the EU.

The main rea­sons why we voted to leave the EU were to re­gain con­trol of our bor­ders and make our own laws. This agree­ment must be re­jected and if nec­es­sary the PM should go. Robert Stather

Broms­grove, Worces­ter­shire

SIR – “UK reaches his­toric EU deal,” say the head­lines. Yes, the most shame­ful in our his­tory. Brian Gil­bert

Hamp­ton, Mid­dle­sex

SIR – Once the (en­tire) UK has left the EU and gone past a tran­si­tion pe­riod, what is to stop a fu­ture UK gov­ern­ment from pass­ing a law re­mov­ing the ECJ from any in­put here and em­pow­er­ing our Supreme Court to have the fi­nal say? John Til­siter

Radlett, Hert­ford­shire

SIR – I fear that the pic­ture of white smoke tweeted by Martin Sel­mayr, an aide to Jean-claude Juncker, in­di­cated progress only be­cause Mrs May had sur­ren­dered. Adrian Waller

Wood­setts, South York­shire

Theresa May and Jean-claude Juncker shake hands af­ter fi­nal­is­ing the Brexit agree­ment in Brus­sels yes­ter­day

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