The Cabinet was reportedly presented with a Treasury assessment of the impact of four outcomes to the Brexit talks: no deal, a Canadian-type deal, the EEA…and the Government’s own new scheme. This itself should give pause for thought to the suggestion that, other than the EEA and no deal, there is no alternative to the plan agreed at Chequers. It is a statement of the obvious that there will be as many of the last as there are people willing to propose them.
Far more to the point, however, there was one from within the Government itself – a proposal for it to seek “Canada Plus Plus Plus”, as David Davis once referred to it. It is well known that DexEU was working on a draft of the White Paper that would outline this idea during the run-up to the Chequers meeting. We are told that it went through some nine iterations. The last ones were largely cuts for length. None of them have been made public. Until now.
Today, ConservativeHome publishes key extracts from a full draft of this White Paper. They are not from one of the briefer final versions, but they set before our readers the main pillars of DexEU’s approach, which we are told were unchanged in any of those nine drafts. As we write, we don’t have the advantage of also having seen the Government’s own White Paper, apparently to be published later, and thus the capacity to make comparisons between its text and that we publish today.
However, there will clearly be substantial overlap between the two – but, on the basis of the Government document published in the aftermath of Chequers, some key differences too. A central one is the proposed regulatory treatment of manufactured goods. In her Mansion House speech earlier this year, the Prime Minister referred in this context to “a comprehensive system of mutual recognition”. She also set out in her Florence speech last year a three-basket approach to regulation.
“There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means. And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies,” she said. This was the approach agreed at the Chequers mee