Yet again, the Tories are in turmoil over Europe – and the rest of us will be picking up the bill.
Under the pathetic deal Theresa May brought back from Brussels after two-and-a-half years of “negotiations”, my constituents who voted Leave will have two feet in and an arm out.
During the interim Brexit period we will have to agree with all EU legislation without any say, and can never leave without the agreement of the EU.
At a time when the government wants to trumpet that it is taking back control it will be ceding control for 21 months, and very possibly longer.
There will be no UK presence in the European Parliament, at the top table of the European Commission, or in the European Court of Justice.
The UK will have no formal say in making or amending EU rules and regulations, but it will have to follow them to the letter.
Then there’s the issue of the £39bn “divorce” bill the EU expects us to pay. Part of that money will be the financial contribution the UK has to make during the transition period – £10.8bn this year alone. Just think what we could do with that money in the north east to reverse the disintegration of our health, care and education services.
These are failed negotiations. Nobody likes it, neither Leavers nor Remainers, yet given the prime minister’s shaky grip on power, we may have to accept it.
My own position remains the same as always. I voted out because I couldn’t stomach the cosy club for billionaires and bureaucrats that the EU had become.
I always knew it would not be easy to deliver the people’s verdict after the referendum. I knew there would have to be compromise, as any good trade union negotiator knows. I knew that we don’t always get everything we want.
What I didn’t expect was the current complete chaos.
Mrs May should go back and demand a renegotiation. But there’s fat chance of that.