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August 2019 update to supporters from Martin Howe QC, Chairman of Lawyers for Britain.

What a transformation a few weeks have brought!

For nearly two years, we have been battling against a government intent on throwing away all the benefits of Brexit, through a combination of incompetence, stupidity, duplicity, and a pig-headed determination to keep the United Kingdom permanently subjugated to the laws and rules of the organisation we have left — and without a vote or veto.

Boris Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street means at long last we have a Prime Minister who is actually committed to delivering Brexit with no further delay. At Lawyers for Britain, over the coming weeks we shall be doing three things to support this process.

First, we shall continue to highlight the problems with Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, and explain why, if we are to do a deal with the EU, it must avoid altogether a withdrawal agreement under Article 50 and use different mechanisms. The problems in the draft WA go much wider than just the Northern Ireland backstop Protocol.

Together with Politiea and Brexit Briefings, we have published a major paper Avoiding the Trap – How to Move on from the Withdrawal Agreement.  This explains the many serious problems which remain in Theresa May’s draft WA even if the ‘backstop’ Protocol were to be totally removed, and proposes alternative means for maintaining smooth trading links with the EU while a long term Free Trade Agreement is negotiated. Theresa May’s former policy chief Nick Timothy has picked up the theme of this paper in his article on 12 August 2019: You thought the backstop was bad, but the rest of the Brexit deal is worse (access requires Telegraph subscription).

Secondly, we shall support the government in resisting nefarious Parliamentary stratagems by desperate last-ditch Remainers which aim to negate the referendum, based on false claims that there is no democratic mandate for a “no deal” exit.

Thirdly, and very importantly, we shall focus on the legal aspects of the long term relationship between the UK and the EU. The planned agreement outlined in the Political Declaration negotiated by Theresa May is seriously flawed and defective. Even if there is an exit on 31 October without an agreement with the EU, we may quickly enter a phase of post-exit negotiations about our future relationship.

It is essential that the UK should enter that phase with sound proposals which will mean that an agreement with the EU does not compromise our autonomy or our ability to conduct our own independent global trade policy.

Once again, I would like to thank all the many people who have supported our work with donations and continue to do so, as well as those who contribute their time and effort as volunteers in keeping our organisation running and in doing legal research and writing. Our work will not be complete until our ship is safely out on the open sea as an independent nation, having navigated the last of the shoals and reefs of the Brexit process.


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Martin Howe