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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Battle for UK to remain in the EU is now lost

Over at the Independent, Michael Heseltine injects a dose of reality by saying out loud what we have all been thinking since Thursday's Tory landslide victory. His view is that the battle for UK membership of the European Union is lost and the question will not be reopened for 20 years:

Lord Heseltine, who lost the Tory whip after urging people to vote against Conservatives to stop Brexit, played down the prospect of an immediate campaign to rejoin the EU, and said the focus must now be on ensuring that Boris Johnson’s withdrawal deal works for disadvantaged areas of the UK.

After securing a landslide majority in Thursday’s election, allowing him to “get Brexit done”, Mr Johnson was coming under pressure to strike a trade deal with Brussels that allows the UK to maximise commercial links by maintaining close alignment with EU regulations.

French president Emmanuel Macron has said that an ambitious deal will require “ambitious regulatory convergence”, while Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he expected Mr Johnson to accept EU standards on the environment and labour rights as the price for access to European markets. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen indicated that an agreement to be reached within Mr Johnson’s deadline of 31 December 2020 can only cover areas like goods, fisheries and security, with the vital services sector to be dealt with later.

And the TUC warned that Mr Johnson must be ready to take his time to secure a deal which will support jobs and workplace protections in the northern and midlands seats which secured his stunning victory over Labour.

As much as this sounds like commonsense, the danger is that Boris Johnson will heed the calls from both within and without his party to break ties with the EU completely and try to get trade deals elsewhere. That will not be possible if he accepts the EU's terms for free trade going forward.

Donald Trump has said that a “far bigger and more lucrative” deal is on offer from the US if the UK breaks free of EU standards, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that Leavers will “reapply pressure” on the PM if he moves towards a “soft” outcome.

The battle now must be avoid jumping into that particular chasm, which will plunge us into economic chaos and depression for possibly the next ten years.
Yes indeed 'Lets get Brexit done' is not done. It will drag on and 'revoke' may return on the campaign trail.
Nigel may know more than I do, but as I understand it the Article 50 letter cannot be revoked once we are past 31st January.

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