Theresa May offers concessions to find common ground on Brexit deal

Yesterday MPs received the following letter from Prime Minister Theresa May: 


21 May 2019

Dear Colleague,

Today the Government is making a new offer to find common ground in Parliament – the only way to now deliver Brexit. This deal would deliver on the result of the referendum. If MPs pass the Bill by the summer recess, we would leave the EU by 31 July.

The House of Commons voted to trigger Article 50. The majority of colleagues say they want to respect the result of the referendum. I have listened to concerns from across the political spectrum. I have done all I can to address them.
The Government is setting out legal guarantees on workers’ rights and on the environment, as well as how we will protect jobs – concerns voiced by Labour in the cross-party talks. We will bring forward in law a compromise on customs for MPs to decide on.

We are also setting out legal commitments on the backstop, to commit the Government to seek to replace the backstop with Alternative Arrangements by 2020 and that if the backstop were ever to be used the same rules would apply in Northern Ireland as the rest of the UK – we will never leave Northern Ireland behind.

By voting for second reading, MPs will provide the vehicle through which they can determine how we leave the EU, including resolving the question of a Second Referendum. If you want to leave the EU with a deal you need the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.

This is our new Brexit deal:

  1. The UK will seek as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible while outside the single market and ending free movement. This will help to protect jobs in just-in-time supply chains.
  2. We will keep up to date with EU rules for goods and agri-food products that are relevant to checks at border – providing stability and certainty for our vital manufacturing sector.
  3. The Government will bring forward a customs compromise for MPs to decide on to break the deadlock. This will be a choice between:
    - Our proposal which delivers the benefits of a customs union but with the ability for the UK to determine its own trade and development policy.
    - A compromise put forward in the talks with Labour – a temporary customs union on goods, with an independent trade policy on services and investment, and including: a UK say in relevant EU trade policy and an ability to review and change the arrangement, such that a future Government could move it in its preferred direction.
  4. A new Workers’ Rights Bill that guarantees workers’ rights will be no less favourable than in the EU.
  5. There will be no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU.
  6. There will be a vote for MPs on whether the deal should be subject to a referendum.
  7. The negotiating objectives for our future relationship with the EU will have to be approved by MPs.
  8. We will seek changes to the political declaration to reflect this new deal.
  9. The Government will seek to conclude Alternative Arrangements to replace the backstop by December 2020, so that it never needs to be used.
  10. A commitment that, should the backstop come into force, the limited number of EU laws that apply will apply UK wide.

All of these commitments will be guaranteed in law.

This is last chance to leave the EU with a deal. If the Commons rejects this Bill, the consequences could hardly be greater. Reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal any time soon will be dead in the water.

If this deal passes and we are out, future British parliaments will be able to decide the kind of relationship they want with the EU in the future. No parliament can bind its successors. This deal would deliver on the result of the referendum and would enable us to leave the EU. That is the task the British people have set us.

The Government has made compromises to seek common ground in Parliament. Now is the time for others to also compromise to get a deal over the line.


Theresa May 


The Rt Hon Theresa May MP