|The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union|
|Created||12 July 2018|
|Location||House of Commons Library|
|Author(s)||Government of the United Kingdom|
|Purpose||To lay out the relationship that the UK proposes to have with the European Union after Brexit.|
The Chequers plan, also known as the Chequers deal or Chequers agreement, is a white paper concerning Brexit, published 12 July 2018 by the Government of the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Theresa May. It lays out the type of relationship the UK seeks to have with the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Its official title is The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
In July 2018, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Secretary), Dominic Raab, described it as a "detailed proposal for a principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU". He also stated that "[t]he white paper proposes a free trade area for goods to maintain frictionless trade, supported by a common rulebook and a new facilitated customs arrangement, but only for the rules that are necessary to provide frictionless trade at the border."
The white paper was finalised at a meeting of the UK Cabinet held at Chequers on 6 July 2018. Brexit Secretary, David Davis, and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, resigned in opposition to the plan. The plan was rejected by the EU in September 2018.
The white paper is split into four chapters: economic partnership, security, cooperation and institutional arrangements.
The plan aims at holding the UK in a close relationship with the EU, stating that the new relationship be "broader in scope than any other that exists between the EU and a third country". This would be done by establishing a new association agreement.
A common rulebook on state aid would be agreed, preventing either side from subsidising their own industries. For its part, the UK will commit to maintaining high environmental, climate change, social, employment and consumer protection standards.
When presenting the plan, May addressed the Irish border question, stating that there would be "[n]o hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and no border in the UK". A "facilitated customs agreement" would remove the need for customs checks by treating the UK and EU "as if a combined customs territory". The UK would apply EU's tariffs and trade policy on goods intended for the bloc but would control its own tariffs and trade for the domestic market.
Davis, Brexit Secretary at the time of the Chequers meeting, resigned over the agreement on 8 July, Davis' parliamentary under-secretary, Steve Baker, and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson followed him the next day.
On 18 July 2018, Johnson delivered his resignation speech to the House of Commons. In his speech, he avoided personal attacks on May, although he asserted that ministers were "saying one thing to the EU about what we are really doing, and pretending another to the electorate". Instead of adhering to the Lancaster House Vision set out in January 2017, Johnson said, "a fog of self doubt [had] descended" and that the government "burned through negotiating capital". He later added that "it is not too late to save Brexit. We have time in these negotiations. We have changed tack once and we can change once again". The speech received notable attention, with many noting its similarities to the 1990 resignation speech of Geoffrey Howe as the deputy prime minister, which contributed to the resignation of Margaret Thatcher. Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC noted the seriousness of the speech, stating that "it's the first Boris Johnson speech that I can remember watching that didn't have any jokes". Conservative Party member of parliament (MP), Jacob Rees-Mogg, praised the speech, describing it as "the speech of a statesman", whereas, Labour Party MP, Wes Streeting, described it as a "damp squib".
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has repeatedly stated that the integrity of the European Single Market is "not negotiable", and that there can be no "cherry picking" of the market's four freedoms: free movement of people, goods, services and capital. The UK's proposals outline staying in the European Single Market for goods, but not the other three freedoms. The plan was rejected by the EU on 21 September 2018, urging the UK to come up with another proposal. May, on the other hand, said that Britain needs to see more counter-proposals from the EU.
Result of negotiations
In November 2018, the Brexit negotiations concluded with a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration. The outcome needs support from the UK parliament and the EU leaders. May described the political declaration as "right for the whole of the UK". Leader of the Opposition, Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, described it as "26 pages of waffle". The leaders from the remaining twenty-seven EU countries endorsed the draft.
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