Since the EU's alternative deadline emerged, it seems the Common Market 2.0 variant is gaining traction amongst the chattering classes. I decided to take a closer look, and have prepared the following short briefing note.
Common Market 2.0. Who's behind it?
It's also been referred to in some quarters as Norway Plus, and it is often associated with Nick Boles and Stephen Kinnock. It is promoted by a website betterbrexit.org.uk.
What is Common Market 2.0?
It has the following key features:
Why do people support it?
The promoters of Common Market 2.0 claim it has majority support amongst MPs, and so should May's deal fail on Thursday 28th, it becomes the front runner to satisfy the April 12th deadline.
Its promoters also claim it can be quickly swapped in for May's deal as it can run under the same Withdrawal Agreement, but just needs a change to the Political Declaration. They also claim that the transition period is easily managed as there are less things that need to change, and we are just seeking a "modular" switch to a pre-existing set of models.
Remainers might look at Common Market 2.0 and say it isn't all that bad actually. We pay less money to retain the most important benefits of what we have now (free trade and free movement). Our farmers might not be happy, but we should be able to replicate positive parts of the CAP if we wish. The Remain reaction might well just boil down to a question "What's the point?"
Why do people dismiss it?
What might Harpenden 4 Europe's reaction might be?
We should encourage our MP to reject May's Deal, then accept Common Market 2.0. It is possible that the Kyle Wilson amendment would be tacked onto a Common Market 2.0 vote, and there are perhaps stronger arguments that the People's Vote this calls for should be accepted, since the proposition is more different from the Leave promise and likely to face stiff opposition from ERG/UKIP. It would, however, very strongly argue for a 3-way referendum with No Deal on the ballot. Bim should support the KW amendment.
If all of this goes through, we then see a crystal clear choice between Remain and a Common Market 2.0 which avoids the horrors of May's deal, but has very little to offer that is positive over Remain. It puts us in a position where the argument for Remain can be very focussed on all of its positives.
Personal opinion of course, rather than an officially adopted H4E position. I look forward to discussing it with colleagues on the tarmac of Park Lane on Saturday!!
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