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The 8th of December 2017: The day hard Brexit died

After eighteen long months, the government has for the first time privileged pragmatism over ideology

By Jonathan Lis  

Photo: Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA Images

Let us call this now: hard Brexit is dead. It is no more; it has ceased to be; it is an ex-hard Brexit. Today’s deal on the first phase of withdrawal is the final nail in the coffin for the government’s attempts to leave the single market and customs union. It cannot now do either of them while satisfying the agreed wording for the deal, available to read here.

Here’s why.

Paragraph 49 is crucial. It states that “in the absence of agreed solutions, the…

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