Politics Explained UK Politics

What exactly is Theresa May’s “Chequers Plan” and why did the EU reject it?

She basically presented them with something that would never have worked

By Charlotte Molloy

Just after lunch yesterday, Theresa May got up on a podium at Downing Street and delivered a defiant yet bitter speech in response to the latest setback in the Brexit negotiations.

Basically, at the Salzburg Summit this week Donald Tusk, Council President of the EU, announced that the twenty seven remaining EU heads of state have rejected Mays’ Chequers Plan as “unworkable” and a threat to the “future integrity of the Union.”

So, what does all this mean? What is the Chequers Plan and why is it “unworkable”?

The “Chequers Plan” is the name everyone is using to refer to the white paper presented by Theresa May to her cabinet at Chequers (the cabinets’ country house, as if they weren’t out of touch with the general population enough) back in July. According to said plan the UK would get the free trade benefits of EU membership but with none of those pesky responsibilities.

The UK would have “continued economic cooperation” with the EU by “following a common rulebook.” So, in plain English that’s the free trade we have now. But the UK would reserve the right to not follow some of those rules if they weren’t considered by the UK to be in its best interest.

The UK, despite its continued free trade with the EU, would be free to seek trade deals with other countries like the USA. The UK, although in a free trade agreement with the EU, would be able to block migration from the EU. The UK would not be subjected to the European court of Justice. The UK would not contribute to the EU budget. Somehow amidst all this the Northern Irish border would remain open. And finally, and quite controversially, the UK could collect trade tariffs on behalf of the EU.

According to May, this plan was supposed to be a compromise that met the demands of both the EU and the Brexiteers in her own party. As of her speech yesterday she still maintained that this plan is the only way forward.

So, the Chequers plan cherry picks the benefits of EU membership whilst ditching the responsibilities. A serious dick move! Which is precisely what the EU has said from the start of negotiations it will not accept from the UK.

So, what is it about this plan that makes the EU to not want to touch it with a barge pole?

Well mainly because it would threaten the future integrity of the Union. If the EU allows Britain to pick and choose what parts of EU membership it wants, that could create a domino effect and lead to several other member states trying to customise their membership. And if all that happens, it isn’t a union anymore, is it?

So really the EU has got a good thing going and just wants to protect itself. Who could blame them?

And its not just the EU that thinks the Chequers Plan is unworkable, most of the Brexiteers in her own party are against it too.

David Davis and Boris Johnson resigned from the cabinet over it, Rees Mogg argues it isn’t “what the people voted for” and Iain Duncan Smith said that “I voted to leave, not half leave.” So really the Chequers plan doesn’t just threaten to split up the European Union, it threatens to split up the current Conservative government. Which as fun as it would be to watch, is not ideal in the current circumstances.

In her attempt to come up with a plan that would please everyone, the Prime Minister unfortunately crafted a plan that has been rejected by both the EU and Brexiteers. The pressure really is on.

You might not agree with her politics, but the gal seriously sounds like she needs a hug right about now.

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