LeaveHQ, 04/12/2017  

News has broken that Northern Ireland will maintain regulatory alignment for the purposes of keeping an open border. This should come as no real surprise as there was never any realistic alternative. If we turn our backs on regulatory cooperation we open a hole in the EU's customs firewall. It then has no choice but to police its frontier.

The EU will not make substantive concessions on the NI border because, when we leave, the border becomes the outer frontier of the most mature and complex customs and regulatory union on the planet. It cannot redesign it the for the sole benefit of a departing member. It's a choice of remaining in the single market or erecting a hard border. It is that simple.

To make any kind of substantial concession for the UK so as to avoid a hard border the EU would have to revise its treaties, and any concession would then apply to all third countries. That is simply not going to happen. 

As yet, we do not know what form the final agreement will take and the wording of today's announcement is typically vague, but the mechanics of it dictate that regulatory alignment alone is not enough. A broad statement may be enough to progress talks but we have not heard the last of this issue. The details are everything. We can expect a reaction from the Tory right who have some deeply flawed ideas on how frictionless trade can be accomplished.   

We can also expect a tantrum from Leave Means Leave in that they must be well aware that any arrangement for Northern Ireland which retains single market regulatory mechanisms will have obvious ramifications for the future relationship. It will not be the Brexit they demand.

The Leave Alliance, however, believes this is a step in the right direction. The arguments for divergence and absolute sovereignty over technical rules are not compelling. We would only seek that were there another market of a similar size where realignment would better serve our economic interests. There isn't.

Ultimately we would suggest that meat hygiene regulations are not worth going to the barricades over nor are they worth potentially disturbing the peace. We would also note that this kind of concession takes us one step closer to an amicable Brexit, avoiding what we believe to be a catastrophic no deal scenario. Any progress is good. 

There is no Brexit deal which satisfies everyone so a compromise must be found. Hard liners of any stripe are bound to be disappointed. As with most diplomacy, that is usually a good sign. 

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