A former Brexit Party MEP has already claimed that the withdrawal agreement that is being proposed by Boris Johnson and the government is flawed and has 'failed' the UK.
Ben Habib, who is a 55-year-old businessman, was elected to the European Parliament as part of the 2019 European elections, but has been something of a critic of the handling of Brexit for a while now.
Speaking to The Express, he said that withdrawing from the EU has failed ultimately because of Northern Irish protocol which will bind at least one part of the UK to EU law.
Here's his full remarks:
We can’t be certain of getting the best deal possible in these Brexit trade negotiations. In many respects, we have already failed the United Kingdom. When we signed the withdrawal agreement last year, we signed up to the Northern Irish protocol.
The Northern Irish protocol is a binding international treaty. That aspect of the withdrawal agreement commits Northern Ireland, therefore any company that has offshoots from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, to EU state laws.
It commits Northern Ireland to EU tax laws as far as excise duties and VAT are concerned. It commits Northern Ireland to phytosanitary and sanitary measures, as determined by the European Union. And finally commits Northern Ireland to have a border down the Irish sea, between Great Britain and itself.
All these things make it impossible for the prime minister to deliver his manifesto pledges of taking back control of our cash, laws and borders.
Back in November, before the UK had left the EU, Habib appeared on Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday Show and urged the prime minister to move away from this deal or remain in the EU or risk leaving Northern Ireland bereft.
What we need to do is to get the prime minister to pivot away from the withdrawal agreement which I think is subjugation of the UK. I see the withdrawal agreement as much worse than remain, quite frankly. I do think it's better. It's much better because if you think about it under Boris Johnson's deal we're going to leave Northern Ireland bereft.
As the New European points out, despite his reservations, Habib still voted for the deal when it was presented to the European Parliament, saying:
When the Withdrawal Agreement is presented to the European Parliament to be approved later this month, I shall vote in favour of it being ratified.
The agreement itself is a bad one and my faith in the Conservative Party has been very badly shaken, but it is not for me to stand in the way of a genuine democratic mandate, especially since the undertakings given by the government would result in a genuine Brexit.
Brexit is due to be fully completed by the end of this year, with the government already confirming that they won't be extending the negotiation period beyond 31 December.
Fresh reports also indicate that the government is now considering abandoning any hope of striking a trade deal in time for Johnson's July deadline. However, a basic agreement could be attained later in the year should the EU concede some ground.