Brexit and the Chequers Agreement

Thank you for contacting me about Brexit and the Chequers Agreement.

The process of leaving the EU is taking place over several phases:

  • Article 50 has been triggered with a firm leaving date of 29th March 2019
  • Phase One of negotiations – the ‘divorce settlement’. This has been completed and agreed. This is about the liabilities which we have already signed up to over the next 5 years. These have been agreed at £39 billion. This sum is a fraction of the amount we would have paid into the EU if we had remained members; the new Brexit Secretary has made it clear that we will only hand over this money if we get a deal we are happy with
  • Phase Two of negotiations was about setting a transition period after our leaving date of 29th March 2019. This, it has been agreed, will last until December 31st 2020. This will ensure an orderly transition from 40 years of integration into the EU to independence
  • Phase Three of negotiations is our current phase which is about how we trade with the EU going forward. The Cabinet discussions which led to the Chequers Agreement were about this phase of the talks with the EU
  • Phase Four is about ratification of the negotiated deal (If indeed we have one)
  • Phase Five is our leaving date on 29th March 2019 at 11pm

The Chequers deal  addresses 12 key points with the aim of ensuring that the referendum result delivered by the British people is honoured in full. This is no longer about whether we leave or we remain; this is about what is in the long term best interests of Britain once we leave the EU.  

The 12 points the Chequers Deal addresses are:

  • We leave the EU on the 29th March 2019 at 11pm
  • Sovereignty is fully restored to the UK Parliament
  • We have our own immigration policy which does not include freedom of movement for EU citizens 
  • We can sign our own trade deals with whoever we choose. We will also take our own seat as a nation at the World Trade Organisation
  • We will no longer make financial contributions to the EU 
  • We will no longer be part of the EU's Customs Union. Instead, we plan to have a ‘Facilitated Customs Arrangement’ which we believe will solve the issue of the Irish Border and allow frictionless trade
  • The plan includes maintaining a common rule book for food, farm and industrial goods. If the exporters of the Calder Valley want to trade with the EU after Brexit, they will have to trade to EU standards anyway so it makes sense for us to have the common rule book for goods only, which are about 20% of our GDP
  •  Britain will not follow the EU’s regulations for services, with “regulatory flexibility” included in the plan
  • We will no longer be ruled by the European Court of Justice. British courts will make the final decision in each case. UK courts will become the supreme overseers of British law and order
  • Britain will leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy
  • We will continue to prepare at pace for a ‘no deal scenario’ and use this as a negotiating position
  • The issue of a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is addressed under this plan. 

I believe that this is the basis for a good deal for Britain, for the British people, and for businesses in this country. If, however, we cannot reach agreement with the EU, the Prime Minister is clear that no deal remains better than a bad deal. Preparations for such an outcome are being intensified and I wholeheartedly agree with this approach.

The Chequers agreement contains sensible, common-sense proposals that deliver the Brexit promises that people voted for and which ensure that we take back control of our borders, laws and money.

Can I thank you for taking the time to contact me on this issue?

If you would like to discuss this with me in further detail, please contact my office.

Craig Whittaker MP

August 2018