Why Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit plan will be his downfall

While the Tory front-runner refuses to debate his Brexit policies in public, his own colleagues are rightly tearing them apart.

The more scrutiny that is applied to Boris Johnson, the more threadbare and tawdry his offer to the 0.25 per cent of the country who have a vote in picking the Prime Minister is seen to be.

Today we can see the dishonest core of Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance very clearly. His campaign are still circulating a video in which he says that he will seek to cherry pick from the Withdrawal Agreement and use the transition period it offers to secure an alternative to the Irish backstop.

But every informed Conservative figure from David Lidington to Rory Stewart – even Liam Fox – has dismissed the idea as wrong, or worse. 

Nor is there any reasonable basis to expect that another myth peddled by Boris Johnson – that there can be a two-year standstill under Article 24 of the World Trade Organisation’s GATT treaty – will fly.

Instead, the advocates of a hard Brexit should focus on Article 1 of the GATT, because that outlines the cold, hard legal reality of what No Deal would mean for trade.

It mandates that if we crash out with No Deal and leave our borders open in Ireland or anywhere else to EU-trade, we have to offer the same terms – on both tariffs and product safety checks – to every other GATT signatory. That’s the vast majority of countries in the world.

Donald Trump wouldn’t have to negotiate a trade deal to get chlorinated chicken on our supermarket shelves: we’d have flung the door wide open. The other legal alternative – a hard border with WTO standard tariffs -would be an attack on the living standards of every family in the country as import duties send prices soaring and jobs are destroyed as exports to our largest market shoot up in cost overnight. [The Centre for Economic Performance estimates that No Deal under WTO rules would reduce the UK’s trade with the EU by 40% over a decade.]

It is no wonder more and more Conservative MPs are making it clear that whether he wins the leadership election or not, Boris Johnson will not be allowed to get away with imposing a destructive No Deal on the people.

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood has become the latest refusenik, telling the BBC: “I think a dozen or so members of Parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no deal, and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers.”

Boris Johnson and his supporters need to face the facts – there is no majority in Parliament for No Deal or for any form of Brexit. The only democratic route out of the crisis is to give the people back the final say.

Anna Turley is Labour MP for Redcar and a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign.

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6 Responses to “Why Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit plan will be his downfall”

  1. Patrick Newman

    Even now I can’t believe the Tory Party will choose this buffoon. They must be very desperate. Has anybody seen Carrie Simonds since the big Boris bust-up? I hope she was not injured. The ERG/Brexit stormtroopers have now attacked the neighbours who reported the row and called the police. We will soon see the back of May who suffered from Type 2 Diabetes which appeared not to affect her incompetency! Soon we may see our first Prime Minister with ADHD!

  2. Sarah Sansom

    Totally agree with this honest (ie based on facts!) article by Anna Turley – even though this shambolic contest for the next Prime Minister is completely out of our hands, we can hopefully keep putting pressure on public opinion through honest, insightful discourse. Thanks Anna, proud you are representing Redcar in these uncertain, divisive times. Keep pushing for a People’s Vote & an end to this madness!

  3. steve

    Because of the difficulties outlined above, Johnson will re-present May’s deal but dress it up as a new deal.

    Politicians would most likely back May2 as the prospect of another referendum carries with it the possibility of an electorate-backed no-deal outcome.

    The Blairite extremists won’t like it but this is probably as close as we’ll get to the sensible compromise that is essential to keeping the country together.

  4. Julia Gibb

    I thought “the people will not vote for Trump” – they did
    I said the same about the chances of Boris becoming PM – it looks like it will happen.
    Will we have a No Deal exit – If the above events can happen then why not?

    The main problem is that people who take an interest in politics and social change always forget that a Dail Mail headline thrashes reasoned debate.

  5. Tom Sacold

    Brexit is a great enabler for the left.

    Once we are free of the neoliberal, corporatist EU we can implement real socialist policies that are currently illegal under the EU’s Single Market regulations.

  6. Patrick Newman

    Johnson soon will find that the ERG will not be satisfied by anything less than a no deal Brexit. They have tasted blood and they will want the full works. At the moment Johnson has not a clue how he will leave the EU but believes in the way of an expensively acquired undoubting self-confidence that something will turn up!

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