The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been advised to ditch his current withdrawal agreement with the EU and replace it with a deal that is “sovereignty compliant” as the possibility of a no-deal Brexit gets stronger.
Brexiteer and former MEP Ben Habib have recently shown support for a campaign from the Centre for Brexit Policy think tank for Boris Johnson to make this late move, but admits it is a “huge uphill struggle”.
“I have just made a meaningful donation to @CentreBrexit. This Group advocates @BorisJohnson replace the WA with a sovereign compliant deal. A huge uphill struggle but their campaign deserves support,” He tweeted.`
However, the Centre for Brexit Policy has suggested the Withdrawal Agreement could be replaced to ensure the UK “takes back control on exiting the transition period” – notwithstanding this ending in just over four months on December 31.
The argument is that “sovereignty is the crux of Brexit and the Government recognises this” as before joining the European Economic Community (EEC) and then the EU, the UK was a “truly independent state”, agreeing on trading with other countries, and would be free to exit those arrangements.
But the think tank argues the EU is underpinned by a concept of “pooled sovereignty”, where member states give up some of their sovereignty in return for participation in the bloc’s “collective institutions”.
The Centre for Brexit Policy hinted last month: “Therefore, on exiting the Transition Period (TP), it is vital that the Government ensures that no legal text interferes with the UK returning to a fully sovereign state, consistent with the status quo ante. The UK cannot be asked to concede on aspects of its sovereignty, whatever reasons the EU may concoct.”
“As things currently stand, this is not the case. The current situation results from a failure in the original Withdrawal Agreement – negotiated by Theresa May – to appreciate the irreconcilable position of exiting the EU, but instead signing back into EU law without any voting power over that law.
“Although the Government sees the revised Withdrawal Agreement (WA) as only transitional until the end of the transitional period in December, there remain serious threats to UK sovereignty that will have crippling economic and strategic consequences for years to come if they are not dealt with now. Exiting the TP with these threats still in place is unacceptable.
“Therefore, to fulfil Brexit’s sovereign promise and take back control from the EU, the UK must ensure that any agreement negotiated is ‘sovereignty compliant’ and that the UK prepares itself for the possibility that the EU ultimately will not come to such an agreement,” the think tank added.
Brexit talks have stalled because the UK refuses to compromise on some key issues.