On the Andrew Marr Show, Dominic Raab endorsed the idea of a extended but limited transition period during which the UK would remain bound into the EU’s rules and regulations, including paying into the budget and accepting free movement, but would no longer be a member of the Empire. Pressed on what the “limit” would be, Mr Raab, rather than talking of time limits, talked of having a “mechanism” for exiting the transition and embracing the new permanent relationship with the Empire. We already have such a mechanism. It is called the Article 50 process. We have already discovered that it is useless because the UK cannot exit without some kind of agreement about the future and the EU cannot enter such an agreement because that would harm the member states and their electorates. Indeed, the author remains astounded that anyone could ever have thought that a trade deal could be based on one party or both simply accepting a worse deal than they already enjoy. Yet that is what Brexit has demanded and will continue to demand and that demand can never be met. Hence, the only real difference between suspending the Article 50 process and entering a transitional arrangement is that suspension would leave our sovereignty within the Empire in tact while the transition would leave us as a vassal state. If the real concern of the Brexitiers is to preserve UK sovereignty, they should at the head of the queue demanding that we suspend the process and call the whole thing off.
Published by Peter G Harris
Peter G Harris is a barrister and was a senior civil servant responsible for advising ministers in the UK on policy and legislation for reforming the civil law and civil justice system. He is now based at Exeter College in the University of Oxford where he teaches and continues to think about the law as an instrument of public policy. View all posts by Peter G Harris