Legal documents relating to the transition period have been circulated in Brussels today, with sources close to the negotiations revealing terms which leave Britain well and truly in the lurch.
The EU has proposed “suspending certain benefits” of EU membership from the UK during the transition period, including voting and veto rights.
This would allow Brussels to punish Britain during the transition period, which is expected to last just under two years from March 2019, with Westminster powerless to respond.
All the while tariffs could be placed on UK goods and planes grounded due to suspension of aviation rights.
One paragraph in the document says Britain will be merely “consulted” on fishing quotas during the transition period – a sharp dig given the industry’s importance in the Brexit debate.
Article X+4 reads: “As regards the fixing of fishing opportunities within the meaning of Article 43 TFEU for any period prior to the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom shall be consulted by the Commission during the decision-making process within the Council an during international negotiations in respect of the fishing opportunities related to the United Kingdom.”
These punishments would be imposed on Britain if it breaks any of the terms of the transition period, which are yet to be imposed.
The terms proposed by Brussels will infuriate hard-line Brexiteers – and some Reaminers including Nick Clegg – who are already concerned a transition period will leave the UK a “vassal state”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said last month: “We are lackeys of the European Union. Can’t we bit a bolder and implement the referendum result?
“We are leaving, we don’t need to behave as if we are a permanent member.
“If on March 30, 2019 the UK is subject to the European Court of Justice, takes new rules relating to the Single Market and is paying into the European budget, are we not a vassal state?”
And Mr Clegg publicly stated “I agree with Jacob” over the subject of the transition deal.
He wrote in the Financial Times: “I agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg … There. I’ve said it.
“I never thought I would — and I doubt I ever will again — but he is right about one crucial component in the Brexit puzzle: the transition period.
“Mr Rees-Mogg correctly observed that it would be more ‘honest’ simply to extend the Article 50 timetable rather than condemn the country to the humiliation of negotiating our departure from the EU having already evicted ourselves from it.
“It is wrong as a matter of constitutional principle — for however long or short a period of time — for a country the size and importance of the UK to become, in effect, a neutered state.”