By Sammy Wilson
The Brexit deal which the Prime Minister has been handed by Brussels has already attracted scathing criticism from all sides in the House of Commons on the grounds that it does not honour the referendum result.
What is more, it betrays her election manifesto commitments, breaks all the promises she made in her Lancaster House and Florence speeches, and tears up the agreement she made with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that she would not allow the European Union to break up the UK by having Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of our nation.
The ire which she has incurred from her own party is well deserved and the humiliating deal which she has brought back deserves to be voted down.
It is little wonder that EU negotiators are gloating but I do not believe that we have seen the end of the EU’s punishment beating of our country.
It is worthwhile reviewing the extent of the surrender which the Prime Minister and her Europhile civil servants who “negotiated” have already engaged in. They have tied the UK into a customs arrangement which will prevent our country from pursuing its own trade deals until the EU agrees to release us from that commitment.
They have agreed to the UK implementing EU regulations which will prevent us from taking the decisions we may wish to make to enhance our competitiveness. They have accepted that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will still be able to decide future policy in the UK.
They have ceded Northern Ireland to indefinite EU control which effectively breaks the constitutional relationship between Northern Ireland and the UK and will have huge economic consequences by cutting it off from its main market on the UK mainland.
Astonishingly, in return for all these concessions, the Prime Minister has agreed to pay the EU £39 billion. No wonder there has been widespread outrage and disbelief at her incompetence as a negotiator.
Her defence has been that the entanglements with the EU are only temporary and may never come into effect because she intends to negotiate a future trade agreement (FTA) which will make these commitments unnecessary. She is either deluded or deluding.
Firstly, the withdrawal agreement is legally binding and the EU negotiators are clear it will have to be implemented.
Secondly, the EU are already making it clear that the FTA will build on, not replace, the terms of the withdrawal agreement. Having neutered any attempts by the UK to gain competitive trading advantages by leaving the EU, only a fool would believe that the EU has any intentions of giving away its legal advantage.
Thirdly, the 27 EU countries have already started indicating that they see the FTA agreement as including demands for access to UK water for their fishing fleets, tying the UK to EU rules on tax, the environment, transport, financial services and a whole range of other regulations which will keep the UK entangled in EU red tape without any input into shaping these rules.
It is likely that the negotiations on the FTA will go on for years and so effectively keeping our country in the EU with no voice, effectively a vassal state.
That is why this deal must be voted down and why the DUP will be using its votes to achieve that outcome. It will involve leaving in March 2019 with no deal but that will be far better than this rotten deal.
It will give an opportunity to reset the negotiations on terms which will create a more level playing field as the EU will have to find a way to fill the hole in its budget and EU countries with huge trading surpluses with the UK find their market disrupted as we orientate our trade with more competitive trading partners elsewhere.
Rejecting this deal is the only way to restore our dignity as a nation, secure our constitutional integrity and protect our future prosperity.
Sammy Wilson is the DUP’s Brexit spokesman and Member of Parliament for East Antrim.
Opinions expressed in View articles are solely those of the authors.