A Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU is within reach as both sides neared agreement last night. But, as both sides closed in on securing a deal, some warned the Prime Minister may have given up on some of his strict red lines to get a deal over the line.
Now, a leading Brexiteer has demanded an “exit clause” from the deal.
Sir John Redwood wrote on Twitter: “Any UK/EU Agreement must put us in full control of our laws, and needs an exit clause we can use without EU permission.”
The Prime Minister is expected to hold a press conference at 8am to announce the deal.
Should the suggestion be accurate, such an arrangement would seem to address Mr Redwood’s concerns.
David Jones MP, the deputy chairman of the European Research Group of which Mr Redwood is also a member, last night tweeted: “If a trade deal is announced between the UK and the EU, the European Research Group will reconvene its Star Chamber to scrutinise and deliver an opinion on it.”
Mr Jones, a lawyer by profession, was referring to the team of legal experts which also included Sir Bill Cash and Martin Howe QC, who scrutinised the backstop arrangements for Northern Ireland contained within the withdrawal agreement unveiled by former Prime Minister Theresa May last year.
Sources on both side of the Channel said a deal was close with Mr Johnson holding a late-night conference call with senior ministers, and negotiators in Brussels pored over reams of legal trade texts.
The deal will also secure access to the single market without the imposition of tariffs or quotas, removing a significant headache for the Prime Minister.
However, Mr Johnson may have more trouble politically if suggestions with relation to future arrangements for fishing are accurate, with reports suggesting the EU’s quota in British waters will be cut by 25 percent over a five-and-a-half year transition period.
Such a commitment would be a significant climbdown from the 80 percent demanded by the UK originally, and is unlikely to impress either the British fishing industry or Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
Last night Mr Farage tweeted: “Just as last year with the Withdrawal Agreement, we will give a full and comprehensive legal analysis when a “deal” finally comes.”