The Bruges Group is opposed to the acceptance by Parliament of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration which has been released today.

The Bruges Group has always put the highest priority in maintaining the integrity of the United Kingdom. This agreement provides for a different status for Northern Ireland and therefore has the potential to lead to the break up of the whole of the United Kingdom. The UK must leave the European Union as one entity.

The agreement also binds the United Kingdom to EU Regulations in any future trade agreement with the EU which would severely damage our prospects of signing free trade agreements with other countries.

The agreement still includes an unjustified £39bn charge on UK tax payers. We reject this punishment levy. This sum is equivalent to nearly a quarter of the entire revenue raised from income tax this year.

This money would be better used in boosting our economy by cutting the taxes of hard working people and/or giving an immediate boost to some of our hard pressed public services.

We urge Members of Parliament who wish to honour the result of the Referendum to reject this defective agreement if it is put before them.

Barry Legg

Chairman, The Bruges Group