Brexit: Michael Gove says UK voters can change final deal


Michael GoveImage copyright
EPA

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Michael Gove says: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”

Voters can use the next general election to have their say on a final Brexit deal, Michael Gove has said.

The environment secretary praised Theresa May’s “tenacity and skill” in securing a last-minute deal to end phase one negotiations on Friday.

But, writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said if British people “dislike the arrangement”, they can change it.

Reports suggest the cabinet will meet on 19 December to discuss its “end state” plans for Brexit.

This is just two days before Parliament’s two-week Christmas recess.

Mr Gove, one of the cabinet’s leading Brexiteers, said the primary agreement between the two sides had “set the scene for phase two” negotiations – where issues such as trade will be discussed.

But he said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” at the end of the process, and the British people would then “be in control” to make the government change direction if they were unhappy.

“By the time of the next election, EU law and any new treaty with the EU will cease to have primacy or direct effect in UK law,” said Mr Gove.

“If the British people dislike the arrangement that we have negotiated with the EU, the agreement will allow a future government to diverge.”

The next general election is currently due to be held in 2022, three years after the UK leaves the EU.

However, it could be sooner if the prime minister calls one, and MPs agree to it, or if the government collapses.

‘Breakthrough’

Friday’s deal between Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed on three key aspects:

  • No “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic
  • The rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU to live, work and study will be protected. The agreement includes reunification rights for relatives who do not live in the UK to join them in their host country in the future
  • The so-called “divorce bill” will amount to between £35bn and £39bn, Downing Street sources say. This includes budget contributions during a two-year “transition” period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019

Mr Juncker said it was a “breakthrough” and he was confident EU leaders would approve it at a European Council summit next week.

Image copyright
Reuters

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Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker agreed a deal early on Friday

Talks can then move onto a transition deal to cover a period of up to two years after Brexit and the “framework for the future relationship” – preliminary discussions about a future trade deal.

However, the EU says a deal can only be finalised once the UK has left the EU.

A final withdrawal treaty and transition deal will have to be ratified by the EU nations and the UK Parliament, before the UK leaves.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down, said there was still “more work to be done” on the border issue and how it votes on the final deal “will depend on its contents”.



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