Editor’s note: This the final part of Clinton Wingrove’s three part series on the Brexit negotiations. Click to read part one and part two. 

I would recommend (perhaps even demand) that the government’s negotiating team submit the following to messrs. Juncker and Barnier:

Dear Sirs,

We have reflected long and hard on the negotiations to date relating to United Kingdom’s cessation of membership of the European Union and intention to develop a new British Global Engagement strategy.  It was clear from the start that the collective decision of the European Commission was to adopt a hard-ball, rather than collaborative, negotiating position.  The UK, however, was willing to negotiate to seek a win-win solution.

We have, to date, offered numerous concessions, many extremely unpopular with our citizens, a clear majority of whom voted for our departure.  Unfortunately, at every turn, you and your teams have deployed tactics that would you knew would inevitably delay progress.  You have made unreasonable demands and done everything possible to make the delays seem as though they were created by the UK. 

You have also shown gross disrespect for the British voting public and for those of us negotiating on their behalf.  You have done so by imposing arbitrary and unnecessary rules and limitations on what can be discussed, and by making sarcastic, dismissive, and disrespectful comments after each round.

We, therefore, find that we now have no choice but to reset the negotiations.  You repeatedly state that our position and requirements are not clear.  So, to avoid any ambiguity or misunderstanding, our position is now as follows:

  1. As a matter of urgency, we will refine and make public the terms under which European Citizens will be able to gain access to the United Kingdom (a) temporarily without work, (b) for work, (c) for permanent residency, and (d) to acquire British Citizenship.  This will include a clause that states that all such terms are subject only to the courts of law of the UK.

  2. On the due date of our formal departure from the EU (2 years from our triggering of Article 50):

    1. The United Kingdom will immediately transfer to World Trade Organisation rules for all trade between the UK and the EU.

    2. The UK will not pay any sum to the European Union for free access to its market.  In fact, due to the current trade deficit of approximately €80 billion per year, the UK considers that any payment for free access should be from the EU to the UK.

  3. On the due date of our formal departure from the European Union (2 years from our triggering of Article 50):

    1. We will immediately close our borders to free movement of people and apply the policy referred to in point 1. above.

    2. We will extend the right of permanent residency in the UK (and associated benefits) to all those who were resident on or before the date on which Article 50 was triggered, subject to the same guarantee being offered by the other members of the EU to all British citizens who were residing in any of those countries on or before the date on which Article 50 was triggered.  All those entering after the date on which Article 50 was triggered will be subject to the immigration policy referred to in point 1. above.

  4. Neither Eire individually or the EU will determine where the UK positions its borders.  British Citizens, resident in Northern Ireland on or before the date on which Article 50 was triggered will be offered a referendum with two options:

  • We wish to have an OPEN border between Northern Ireland and Eire

  • We wish to have a CLOSED border between Northern Ireland and Eire.

    1. In the event that a simple majority choose an OPEN order, then international border controls will apply between Northern Ireland the rest of the United Kingdom at all ports of entry.  The right to work and access to benefits for any entering Northern Ireland via Eire will be controlled by the policy referred to in 1. above.  i.e., the open border will only be to trade and not immigration/residency.

    2. In the event that a simple majority choose a CLOSED border, then international border controls will be established between Northern Ireland the Eire, and the immigration policy referred to in 1. above will apply to trade and all those wishing to enter the UK via that border.

  1. Regarding the claimed sums owed by the UK to the EU, we categorically reject them.  All prior agreements between the UK and the EU were predicated on the UK’s continued membership and were of a purely budgetary/forecasting nature.  Immediately on departure any such obligations cease, along with our membership, and so do any benefits that were linked to that.  Note: Should the EU insist on reopening these specific negotiations, the UK will demand that all prior commitments by the EU to subsidies to the UK will also continue.

We await your response and look forward to recommencing negotiations of the UK’s cessation of membership of the EU.

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