A Survation opinion poll in the Daily Mail on the last day of August found that 52% of respondents answered Yes to the question “Do you support a Brexit deal if the EU drops the Northern Ireland Backstop?” So Mrs May’s misnamed Withdrawal Agreement, minus the Protocol on Northern Ireland, could be approved by a majority of the British public.
Mrs May’s misnamed Withdrawal Agreement is the only Brexit deal with the European Union on offer. If that Survation poll is even half true then the British people are in grave danger. Brussels might drop the Backstop in return for the House of Commons voting through the remainder of Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement. But Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is treachery and treason from beginning to end, in all its 599 pages, not just in the Backstop.
The Draft Withdrawal Agreement dated 14th November 2018, still online, was replaced by the Withdrawal Agreement & Political Declaration dated 25th November 2018. This 25th November WA&PD was speedily approved by the other 27 countries in the European Council. It is available online, anybody can read it. What follows is a tour into the dark heart of that 25th November Withdrawal Agreement (without any help from the Daily Mail).
Article 131 in the Withdrawal Agreement allows all EU bodies, including the Court of Justice of the EU, to retain their powers over Britain in the transition period of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal. And Article 7 says that the UK will have no voting rights on any EU bodies in the transition period. So the UK government will have no vote or veto in the transition period, against any EU decisions that damage the UK. So you can see that the UK will be at the mercy of the EU in the transition period. But it gets much worse.
Articles 164 to 166 set up a Joint Committee to interpret and apply the Withdrawal Agreement in the Transition Period, which process will include the whole relationship between the EU & UK. Clause 2 of Article 166 says that the decisions of this Joint Committee will be “binding” on the EU & UK. So this Joint Committee will overrule the British government. It will be a dictatorial Junta.
Clause 10 of Annex VIII near the end of the WA’s 599 pages says that “the proceedings of the Joint Committee will be confidential”, in other words private, and not for public knowledge. So the Joint Committee’s members and decisions will be secret.
Our elected government in our Parliament in Westminster will be excluded from any knowledge of, or control over, the UK’s withdrawal in the transition period. Only the UK side of the secret Joint Committee will be left to battle for Britain, if it chooses to. Whatever deal the JC will deliver for Britain is unknown to the Withdrawal Agreement. The WA merely delivers Britain to the dictatorship of this Joint Committee. That is the only deal the WA offers, in the transition period.
And which side will have the upper hand on this Joint Committee, the EU side or the UK side? Considering that, as we will see, the Court of Justice of the European Union will arbitrate disputes on the Joint Committee?
Article 168 (Exclusivity) says that all disputes on the Joint Committee between the EU & UK sides must go exclusively to the Arbitration Panel set up in Articles 167 to 181. But clause 1 of Article 174 says that when a dispute submitted to arbitration raises a question of EU law, then the Court of Justice of the EU will make a decision binding on the Arbitration Panel. That is because the CJEU is the supreme interpreter of Union law, not the Panel.
As the Withdrawal Agreement is a legal document all disputes arising from it can be interpreted as legal disputes subject to the rule of the CJEU. You can be sure that the CJEU will agree with that. Clause 1 of Article 174 makes the rest of the Articles 167 to 181 in Title lll (Dispute Management) utterly redundant, along with their Arbitration Panel.
Article 132 in the 14th November Draft Withdrawal Agreement allowed the Joint Committee to extend the transition period to “31 December 20XX”. So the transition period could be extended to 31st December 2099. That “20XX” clause is not there in the 25th November version of the Withdrawal Agreement, approved by the European Council.
But what if the EU side of the Joint Committee proposes anyway to extend the transition period to 31st December 2099, and the UK side of the JC disputes that? The Court of Justice of the EU will decide who wins that dispute. You can guess which side the CJEU will favour.
The Withdrawal Agreement without the Backstop will not be acceptable to the British Parliament and people, if they know what will still remain in it. But the Survation poll showed that the British people don’t know what is in the Withdrawal Agreement.
This undead Withdrawal Agreement might soon get through Parliament minus its Protocol on Northern Ireland and a few other bits, such as fishing quotas. But if the Articles and clauses mentioned above are still there, then that shortened version of the Withdrawal Agreement will turn Britain into a slave state, ruled by the EU’s Joint Committee.
No Deal and reversion to the terms of trade of the World Trade Organisation will be far better than any amended version of this fatal Agreement. The Agreement is a clear and present danger to our democracy, with or without the Backstop. Mrs May’s mendaciously named Withdrawal Agreement will make Britain subject to a dictatorial Junta in a supposed Transition Period, which can then be extended indefinitely.