UK will be bound by EU rules for two years after Brexit under Brussels plan

Posted On: 
29th January 2018

The UK would be forced to abide by EU rules for almost two years after Brexit, under negotiating plans agreed by member states today.

Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker - key players in the Brexit process
PA Images

The proposed transition phase will span from the Brexit date of 29 March next year to 31 December 2020, according to European Commission deputy chief Sabine Weyand.

According to the plan - which was agreed in just two minutes by the EU 27 - Britain would continue to follow European laws and be subject to new regulations without any say on their content or implementation.

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The UK would also be subject to freedom of movement rules, and be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

In return, Britain would have continued "participation" in the single market and customs union.

Although the agreement is a key landmark in the Brexit process, the detail on offer will anger anti-EU Tory backbenchers, who believe Britain would be a so-called "vassal state" of the EU under its terms.

Jacob Rees-Mogg - chair of the 60-strong European Research  Group of Tory MPs - tackled Brexit Secretary David Davis on the issue after draft negotiating guidelines were leaked last week. 

Mr Davis told MPs on the Brexit Select Committee that the UK would continue to pay cash to Brussels, remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and be subject to new EU rules during the almost-two years.

He said he was “relaxed” about the conditions of the implementation period and even said the UK could remain in the customs union as long as it was not “sucked in” to staying any longer.

But Mr Rees-Mogg blasted: “Aren’t we just still acting as if we are in the EU; we are bound by the EU; we are lackeys of the EU?

"Can’t we be a bit bolder and implement the referendum result?”

The package of terms was agreed at a meeting of the EU general affairs council in Brussels - which comprises all the relevant ministers from members states.

Today Ms Weyand tweeted that the proposals included a “status quo transition without institutional representation”.