Seek a deep and special partnership with the EU
Last updated: 02:49pm 14 October 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.36
As we leave the European Union, we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union but we will seek a deep and special partnership including a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement.
This is a promise about the kind of relationship the UK government would like to maintain with the EU after we leave.
Before we getting into the detail, let’s be clear what we’re measuring here. Firstly, this promise covers more than the trade or customs agreements (see ‘Related policies’ section for those). This policy covers a broader relationship, so will include every aspect of cooperation – from security and defence to the economic and environment. Secondly, the governments has promised to “seek” a deep and special partnership. We’re interpreting this as an intention to deliver a deep and special partnership – not just a commitment to try to deliver it. We will therefore be basing our verdict on the outcome of the relationship, not just the effort that goes in to negotiating it.
Now to progress. So far, we know the deal that was agreed in November 2018 has been rejected (three times) by Parliament. So in order to get a new deal agreed, it may have to change. What is unlikely to change, is the original agreement’s description of “an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defence and wider areas of cooperation.” Encouraging words, but worth remembering that nothing in the deal is legally binding. The key part of the deal is an agreement to a ‘transition period’. It’s during this transition period that the actual detail of the relationship can be agreed.
The draft agreement is still enough to demonstrate work has been done to meet this promise, so we’re marking this as ‘in progress’. If the government doesn’t secure a new deal, and the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it would be hard to conclude that there was a “deep and special” relationship between the EU and UK. In this case, this policy will be ‘broken’. We won’t know more until the conditions of our exit are known. We’ll publish any changes as soon as they happen, so follow this policy for updates.
Seek the detail…
- Reality Check: Brexit withdrawal agreement – what it all means – BBC
- Can a no-deal Brexit still happen? – BBC
- Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and
the European Atomic Energy Community, as agreed at negotiators’
level on 14 November 2018 – European Commission
- Seek a free trade and customs agreement with the EU
- Secure new trade agreements with other countries
There's always room for debate
We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.