10 Downing Street

The Brexit deal: 40 rebuttals to Mr Steerpike’s 40 horrors

Is a deal better than no deal? In a bid to answer that question, Mr Steerpike published a list of the 40 horrors buried in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Downing Street have since been in touch to put forward their own 40 rebuttals to those 40 horrors (we’ll respond on Monday). No.10’s points are in italics.

After reading this list, why not try Mr Steerpike’s 40 rebuttals to No.10’s 40 rebuttals here.


The supposed ‘transition period’ could last indefinitely or, more specifically, to an undefined date sometime this century (“up to 31 December 20XX”, Art. 132). So while this Agreement covers what the government is calling Brexit, what we in fact get is: ‘transition’ + extension indefinitely (by however many years we are willing to pay for) + all of those extra years from the ‘plus 8 years’ articles.

Downing Street: Article 132 has a blank date because the date has not yet been agreed between the two sides. The date will represent a maximum length.

1. From the offset, we should note that this is an EU text, not a UK or international text. This has one source. The Brexit agreement is written in Brussels.

Downing Street: The draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is a text which has been negotiated between the EU and the UK. The WA constitutes international law for the UK because the UK is no longer bound by the EU treaties after March 2019.

2. May says her deal means the UK leaves the EU next March. The Withdrawal Agreement makes a mockery of this. “All references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States…shall be read as including the United Kingdom.” (Art 6). Not quite what most people understand by Brexit. It goes on to spell out that the UK will be in the EU but without any MEPs, a commissioner or ECJ judges.

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