…the case for a hard Brexit crumbles. Today a member of the cabinet, Amber Rudd, has suggested that a Norway+ solution might be a compromise solution if parliament won’t approve May’s Chequers-based deal. Maybe its an attempt to scare the Brextremists into supporting May’s deal? I am not sure. Rudd is a Remainer. I suspect that she is trying to widen the debate so that a pro-Remain outcome is more likely.
The Norway+ arrangement would mean that we pay for access to the single market and free movement of labour continues. The " + " would be the part that Norway doesn’t enjoy which is membership of the customs union in order to deal with the NI border issue. It would amount to more or less the status quo position but without representation in the EU government structures…so rule taker not rule maker.
I said a long while ago that something like Norway might be a Brexit option that I could support as second best to remaining in the EU as a compromise position. It would be a form of Brexit but would protect the Irish settlement and our key trading relationship with the EU. It would also have the merit of providing certainty…at least until the next referendum which would hopefully not be until a long time hence.
On the contentious issue of freedom of movement, as a country we are a net beneficiary but there is some scope within EU rules to limit access to benefits and services and residency to those who have no means of supporting themselves. This might be enough to satisfy some of those influenced by stories in the Express and the Mail.
In my view there is a chance that Norway+ might be able to gain majority support in parliament and the country.
Frog in a tree