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A Summary of the Issues Around The Main Withdrawal Agreement 2018

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Please note that the following is a summary of points gleaned from three articles listed at the end of this document. Thank you to David Reardon, Steerpike of The Spectator and Dr. Lee Rotherham of BrexitCentral for their excellent articles.

Please note that a representative of Downing Street has replied to some of these points. Their rebuttal and The Spectator’s rebuttal of their rebuttal can be viewed via this link.



1 Not Leaving in March

In terms of this agreement, we will not be leaving the EU in March. We will remain a member but have no say in its running. This Treaty will trap us, possibly indefinitely. The End Date could be up to 2099 Article 132


2 Ireland

Amongst other issues “The Backstop” can only be ended by the EU


3 Gibraltar

The Protocol all but gives Spain joint sovereignty of Gibraltar by the back door.


4 New Laws

The EU will still have primacy in the direction of UK law even though the UK will no longer be bound by an EU treaty obligation, except this one, and the UK will still be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and this despite the PM’s claim that this will not be the case.


5 Locked into the ECHR

We will be locked into the ECHR  beyond the end of the transition period


6 Locked into the ECJ

Article 86 and 87 give supremacy to the ECJ for 4 years after the end of the transition.


7 EU Staff protections

Immunity of members of the European Parliament — Article 101, Page 59
What it says: “[Existing rights to immunity from prosecution] shall apply in the United Kingdom in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by members of the European Parliament, irrespective of their nationality, including former members, in the performance of their duties before the end of the transition period.”
What it means: This supposedly only relates to issues around freedom of speech and voting, and subsequent clauses grandfather existing rules in the EU treaties that grant EU officials, judges and politicians immunity from prosecution and taxpaying obligations until the end of the transition period. So at least until 2021, Nigel Farage can rest easy.

We cannot tax ex EU staff on their pensions.


8 Tax

We will observe tax rules for 5 years after the transition period ends.


9 Freedom of Movement

This Withdrawal Agreement does not provide the “certainty” as both sides have claimed is required. But, more importantly, it does NOT provide the UK with any provision for terminating these arrangements at some later date. Also, the UK will not have a say regarding any new Freedom of Movement rules that may affect it in the transition period. EU citizen rights must also be extended to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. “Working rights” for family members of EU nationals with Residency Rights must be allowed.


10 Control over people who are not EU or UK individuals

This means that the EU will be dictating how the UK should treat people that are neither UK nor EU citizens.


11 Fishing Rights Article 130

This states that the EU will “consult” the UK about fishing rights in UK territorial waters, this is unacceptable because it does not allow the UK to take back control of its waters.


12 EU Defence Force

We will pledge to participate in EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism rather than the UN’s counterpart. The EU wants us to be affiliated with them rather than NATO and the US.


13 UK Assets and Outstanding Commitments Article 140

The Negotiators have not mentioned and seem to have written off the UK’s assets in the EU e.g. The UK own 10% of: the art collection; the wine reserves; the Council building; other buildings; vehicles; and so on. Whereas UK liabilities and debts are mentioned. In Article 142 only assets with associated liabilities are mentioned.


14 Pensions

UK staff make up a very small proportion of the pension bill, yet, we are paying for other country’s staff pensions mainly. This may well be fair in terms of our commitments but set against the lack of reciprocity it seems unbalanced.


15 Future Costs

Article 136.1 makes the UK liable for fees that they have no say in setting with no guarantee of a rebate. The EU decide capital projects (too broadly defined) the UK is liable for (why on earth can’t they say now … oh yes, I remember, they’re bust) (Art. 144). The UK is bound by EU state aid laws until future agreement – even in the event of an agreement, this must wait four years to be valid. (Article 93). Any powers the UK parliament might have had to mitigate EU law are officially removed. (Article 128). The UK will be liable for future EU lending. (Article143). The UK will remain liable for capital projects approved by the European Investment Bank. (Article 150). The UK will remain a ‘party’ to the European Development Fund. (Articles 152-154). The UK will remain bound to the European Union Emergency Trust Fund – which deals with irregular migration and displaced persons heading to Europe. (Article 155)


16 Propaganda

Article 37 legally authorises pro-EU propaganda and demands we help pay for it.


17 Environmental Protection

We will have no say regarding Environmental Protection laws and may be hamstrung by them.


18 Remaining Tied to Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)

The JHA has had adverse consequences e.g. European Arrest Warrant.


19 Data sharing

This is unacceptable because it basically prohibits the UK from sharing security and other information, which is a primary concern not just here in the UK but across the EU.


20 Qualification Recognition

This is completely unacceptable, not least because the EU could remove a UK qualifications examination institution from their list of competent authorities, unlikely as that is.


21 Intellectual property rights

This would prevent UK courts from re-activating ANY rights relating to a patent registered by a UK citizen or company where such a claim would be acceptable under UK law. The GDPR laws are to be bound into UK law.


22 Protecting Industries

Articles 75-78 would prevent the government of a sovereign UK from intervening to protect a vital industry, even after we have left the EU. (Labour Party take note!)


23 Administrative Procedures

Relating to Articles 101 or 102 TFEU and or Regulation (EC) No 1/2003. The British Government is granting the EU the right for themselves, alone, to determine administrative procedures by applying their own rules and regulations over which the UK will no longer have any say.


24 Administrative Cooperation for Matters Related to Indirect Tax

Articles 99(10 and 99(2). This cover “administrative cooperation for matters related to indirect tax” states that Regulations 904/2010/EU and 389/2012 will apply until 4 years after the transition period ends


25 Fraud

The future protection of EU Fraud whistle-blowers is not clear.


26 Quangos

Unclear about the paring back of the UK’s entanglement with Euro-Quangos



It seems that this agreement is worse than a no deal.





Sources and Credits

The above is a summary of points gleaned from the following articles


“The top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal”

Steerpike of The Spectator



David Reardon’s Article




“There are some nasty surprises in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal”

Dr. Lee Rotherham of BrexitCentral




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