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Influential Tory group gives ideological backing to Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Veteran Eurosceptic William (Bill) Cash who has been a member of the House of Commons since 1984 is widely considered as the main political and ideological force inside the ERG

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s quest to attract ideological support for his post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU) received a shot in the arm today as a group of hardcore Tory ideologues endorsed the agreement.

The European Research Group (ERG), an influential group of Eurosceptic Tories which has been fighting for Brexit since 1993, has said the trade deal “preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law”.

The group, which includes the former Brexit minister David Jones and hardcore Eurosceptic William Cash, claims the agreement reached on December 24 “fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties”.

In what comes as a surprise to seasoned political observers, the ERG has not even objected to the trade agreement’s most controversial features, notably the EU’s insistence on common rules and standards.

The group merely says the trade agreement's "level playing field" clauses "go further than in comparable trade agreements", but they judged their impact "is likely to be limited if addressed by a robust government".

The ERG’s enthusiastic backing for the trade deal is of ideological, as opposed to political, significance to the PM as he sets out to regain the trust of the Tory base in the immediate post-Brexit period.

In the political sphere, the PM is not expected to face any difficulties in the House of Commons as MPs vote on the deal on Wednesday (December 30).

The opposition Labor Party has already given its backing to the deal, which is comprised of 1,246 pages and covers £660 billion worth of trade.




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