Britain is faced with a terrible choice.

The humiliation of a deal dictated by Brussels.

Or the chaos of crashing out of the European Union at the end of March with no deal.

But it's not too late.

We can achieve a better Brexit, one around which the whole country can unite.

Not softer, not harder, but better.

For Leavers, for Remainers. For the young and the old. For people living in big cities and people living in rural areas and small towns.

For Britain as a whole.

Here's how.

To achieve a Better Brexit we need to take four steps. Each step is crucial. Steps 3 and 4 are as important as Step 1 and 2.

STEP 1 – Take Back Control of Brexit

Reject the terms of the current Withdrawal Agreement and get ready to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019

✓ Cancel the standstill transition in which we would be bound by all EU rules but have no vote

✓ Cancel the upfront divorce settlement in which we commit to pay €39 billion without getting anything in return

✓ Cancel the Irish backstop that would split Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK

✓ Leave the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy on 29 March 2019

✓ Leave the jurisdiction of European Court of Justice on 29 March 2019

STEP 2 – Confirm continued membership of European Economic Area (EEA) on an interim basis

Assert our Treaty right to remain part of the EEA after 29 March 2019 and negotiate recognition as an EFTA state

✓Inform all members of the EEA of our intention to remain a party to the EEA Agreement (and retain full access to the Single Market) for an interim period

✓Apply to join EFTA as an associate member and to be defined as an EFTA state for the purposes of the EEA Agreement

✓Negotiate a limited Withdrawal Agreement with EU involving an interim customs union in exchange for a substantial but one-off financial contribution

✓Activate EEA rules allowing temporary controls on free movement

✓Stay out of Schengen open borders regime and bring back British passports

STEP 3 – Negotiate Long Term Relationship from Position of Strength

Freed from the shackles of a punitive deal and safe in EEA, open negotiations of UK’s long term relationship with EU.

✓ Set ambitious vision for relationship involving cooperation on trade, security, research and environmental protection

✓ Take Canada Free Trade Agreement as baseline for UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and target better terms in key areas like services

✓ Negotiate with urgency but reject artificial deadlines designed to undermine UK's negotiating position

✓ Negotiate deep and comprehensive FTAs with key trading partners around the world taking EFTA's 26 FTAs with 36 partner countries as a model


STEP 4 – Prepare properly for trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms

Implement massive programme of investment to transform UK's ability to trade successfully on WTO terms in case UK cannot accept EU terms for FTA

✓ Invest in state-of-the-art border systems for seamless customs and regulatory checks

✓ Build new facilities at ports around the country to manage flows of goods traffic

✓ Support investment by manufacturing industry to secure long-term competitiveness of supply chains

Do you want a Better Brexit?

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Foundations of Better Brexit

Better Brexit's Four Steps are based on ideas and legal arguments that have been developed and tested by leading statesmen, academics and lawyers during the course of the two years since the referendum.

Former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen is the most distinguished advocate of the idea that the UK should assert its right to stay in the European Economic Area after Brexit. A passionate and principled supporter of the Leave campaign, Lord Owen believes that the UK should negotiate a Canada-style free trade agreement from within the EFTA pillar of the EEA:

Former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Richard Aikens, Professor George Yarrow of the Regulatory Policy Institute and Professor Guglielmo Verdirame of Kings College, London recently published a legal opinion on the strength of the UK's claim to full Treaty rights under the EEA Agreement after Brexit:

Their arguments are supported by a large number of QCs and leading practitioners of international and European law.

The most influential of them is Professor Dr Carl Baudenbacher, former President of the EFTA Court, who set out his views on the potential of the EEA for the UK after Brexit:

Professor Yarrow was also the author of the original papers that explored the advantages of staying in the EEA after Brexit:

George Trefgarne, chief executive of Boscobel & Partners and member of the Advisory Council of Open Europe, has recently published Norway then Canada: A new strategy to avoid a Brexit smash:

A number of MPs and commentators have written articles about the potential for a Brexit based on interim membership of the EEA:

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk:

Rupert Darwall, fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies:

Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph:

Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph:

Paul Goodman, editor of Conservative Home:

Nick Boles, MP for Grantham and Stamford and chair of Better Brexit, floated the idea of a transition out of the EU via the EEA in July 2017: