Brexiters seek to revive Canada plus-plus-plus model as Barnier rejects Chequers cherry picking
The Canada-plus-plus-plus model mooted by former Brexit secretary David Davis is still in play, with pro-Brexit MPs discussing how to revive it in favour of the Prime Minister's Chequers model.
The model, also called Super Canada, was first publicly floated by Davis last year, suggesting the free trade agreement recently signed between the EU and Canada as the basic framework, alongside three additions – an improved deal on tariffs and quotas; the inclusion of services in general; and financial services specifically.
The model had gained traction among many MPs, only to flounder because of its perceived failings when it comes to the Irish border. However fans argue it could still work – if Max Fac is revived in favour of Theresa May's floundering facilitated customs arrangement, which Michel Barnier comprehensively ruled out a fortnight ago.
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This model is vying against a renewed push for the UK to temporarily join the EEA as a way of avoiding a no deal. The FT reported this morning that environment secretary and former Leave campaigner Michael Gove had floated the idea during a private dinner, and was such a fan he had earned himself the nickname "St Michael of the EEA".
However the EEA option is seen as only being possible on a limited time period, whereas proponents of the Canada-plus-plus-plus approach argue it has longer-term potential. Sources point to the fact it was the basis of an offer made by Donald Tusk back in March, which was reiterated by Barnier today.
One former minister told City A.M. it still "had legs" and could help steer the country away from crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Another source said it would require the government to have "the political courage to realise they are wasting their time and opportunity by flogging a dead horse".
He added: "It’s obvious to everyone apart from those in panic mode in bunkers that [white paper] this isn't going to fly so the sooner we get back to plan A the better… We have got completely distracted and we need a dose of reality."
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