Gen­er­a­tions will look back on this deal as

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Turmoil - By Suella Braver­man

Re­sign­ing was never part of the plan. As a new min­is­ter work­ing on the his­toric mis­sion of with­draw­ing from the EU – a job I en­joyed and a quest about which I am pas­sion­atethe plan was to give it my all. Plough all my en­er­gies into se­cur­ing the best deal with the EU – one that might not nec­es­sar­ily please ev­ery­one, but that would be faith­ful to the ref­er­en­dum.

So I find my­self stunned that it has come to this. Res­ig­na­tion. Pen­ning a let­ter to the Prime Min­is­ter set­ting out why I can’t sup­port her pol­icy. Why I’m un­able to sup­port the Gov­ern­ment and vote for the deal. How did I get to this point? Am I an ex­trem­ist? Did I fail to com­pro­mise?

I sup­ported con­ces­sions through­out – con­ces­sions which have, at times, seemed per­plex­ing for such a brave and in­no­va­tive coun­try. Con­ces­sions like the com­mon rule-book, the an­tithe­sis of tak­ing back con­trol; a fa­cil­i­tated cus­toms ar­range­ment or rather a cus­toms union in all but name, which will hin­der our abil­ity to strike free trade agree­ments around the world; £39bil­lion paid to the EU for no legally bind­ing fu­ture trade agree­ment in re­turn; an im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod when the UK won’t os­ten­si­bly be a mem­ber state but will still be sub­ject to EU rules, free move­ment and the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice. I sup­ported these trade-offs in the name of prag­ma­tism and mind­ful of the need for po­lit­i­cal unity. Acutely aware of the par­lia­men­tary arith­metic, I chose to strengthen the Prime Min­is­ter’s hand – har­mony over dis­rup­tion, com­pro­mise over ide­al­ism. I kept faith in the ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion to jus­tify the un­com­fort­able jour­ney.

But a line has been crossed. We have reached a point where the con­ces­sions bear no re­flec­tion to the peo­ple’s choice in 2016; peo­ple who send us to Par­lia­ment, who trust their politi­cians to do the right thing.

Where did these con­ces­sions come from? It was not the Depart­ment for Ex­it­ing the Euro­pean Union, or at least their min­is­ters past or present. This ne­go­ti­a­tion, rapidly ac­quir­ing the moniker of “the worst deal in his­tory” is the prod­uct of the Civil Ser­vice, not of politi­cians. I must be clear: I have noth­ing but re­spect for the men and women with whom I worked at the depart­ment. They were in­de­fati­ga­ble, tal­ented and ded­i­cated. But the fail­ure of ac­count­abil­ity to politi­cians was as­ton­ish­ing. Civil ser­vants would rou­tinely re­turn from Brus­sels with the fruits of their en­deav­ours, of­ten hav­ing strayed be­yond Cab­i­net man­dates or set­ting pol­icy de­ci­sions in legally bind­ing text be­fore min­is­ters had even dis­cussed them. I ar­gued with of­fi­cials about in­clud­ing a con­di­tion­al­ity clause, which would make the pay­ment of the £39bil­lion con­tin­gent on a bind­ing fu­ture trade agree­ment and which would give us some se­cu­rity in the event of a fail­ure of talks. But no in­sur­ance pol­icy was forth­com­ing. The ap­proach al­ways seemed to be not to upset Brus­sels. As a bar­ris­ter used to the con­fronta­tional na­ture of ne­go­ti­a­tions, that didn’t make sense. Ac­qui­es­cence can’t pos­si­bly be the strat­egy? Surely it was for min­is­ters to make that de­ci­sion? Surely it was for the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to call the shots?

An­other chill­ing ex­am­ple is Clause 132, which al­lows the im­ple­men­ta­tion pe­riod to be ex­tended. That was never agreed by min­is­ters or Cab­i­net as far as I know. It never ap­peared in any draft agree­ments I saw. Yet the fi­nal ver­sion of the agree­ment clearly states the set­tled po­si­tion be­tween the EU and the UK to ex­tend the tran­si­tion pe­riod un­til an un­known date. No won­der this deal can­not com­mand the sup­port of the ma­jor­ity of politi­cians, Re­main, Leave, Left or Right. It has been forged not by those who have a po­lit­i­cal pulse but by those who are risk-averse, pro-Re­main and who do not want Brexit to hap­pen.

And then to the sub­stance of the deal. Sim­ply put, the North­ern Ir­ish Back­stop is not Brexit. It pre­vents an un­equiv­o­cal exit from a cus­toms union with the EU thus rob­bing the UK of the main com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage from Brexit. Without a uni­lat­eral right to ter­mi­nate or a def­i­nite time limit to the Back­stop, our many prom­ises to leave the cus­toms union will be bro­ken. While I ac­cept that we do not plan to use the Back­stop, it is none­the­less an alarm­ingly strong like­li­hood judg­ing by the snail-pace that the EU adopts in agree­ing Free Trade Agree­ments, the lack of in­cen­tive for the EU to make such swift progress with the UK and the ab­sence of se­ri­ous con­se­quences for the EU for fail­ing to make suf­fi­cient progress on the Fu­ture Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship. And with EU ne­go­tia­tors mak­ing it clear that the Back­stop is to form the start­ing point for the Fu­ture Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, my worst fears are con­firmed – 17.4 mil­lion peo­ple voted for the UK to leave the EU in our own sov­er­eign way and at a time of our choos­ing. The Back­stop ren­ders this im­pos­si­ble and gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple will look back on this as a be­trayal.

Se­condly, the pro­pos­als in the North­ern Ire­land Back­stop set out dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tory regimes for North­ern Ire­land and Great Bri­tain threat­en­ing the pre­cious Union in the west and fu­elling the fire of Scot­tish Na­tion­al­ist calls for a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum in the north. I un­der­stand the com­plex­i­ties of this is­sue. I am con­fi­dent, hav­ing met cus­toms pro­fes­sion­als in my role at the Depart­ment, that such a break-up of the Union could have been avoided with the use of pre-bor­der checks, tech­nol­ogy and ex­emp­tions for the vast ma­jor­ity of small traders who op­er­ate at the bor­der. Sadly the North­ern Ir­ish bor­der has been con­fected into a prob­lem rather than

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