When the Prime Minister announced last week that she had concluded the text of a Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union, it should have brought some much-needed clarity to the Brexit process. Instead it has brought more chaos and confusion.
In political terms it has caused turmoil in parliament, with different parts of the Conservative Party, and different factions within the Cabinet, in open revolt against the deal and pushing to reopen the negotiations.
The Prime Minister even seems to be contradicting herself, one day suggesting that ‘no Brexit’ is still an option, the next claiming that we are leaving the EU no matter what.
But the worrying uncertainty surrounding this deal is not about the political theatre of what happens next in parliament, it is the stark reality of what happens next for our country.
The truth is that we are no closer to knowing what the future relationship with the European Union will be than we were a month ago.
The Political Declaration that was meant to tell us what the future holds and was published alongside the Withdrawal Agreement was just a few pages long. It is a document full of good intentions, but devoid of the cast iron certainty that both the public and private sectors need in order to plan for the future.
Prospect is committed to updating members on what the Brexit deal means for them, but the lack of detail about the future in this document makes it extremely difficult to do so.
For example, we have long argued that the UK should seek to remain a member of European agencies such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and Euratom. But there is almost no mention of any of these agencies anywhere in the document and we remain totally in the dark about what our relationship with them will be in the future.
And as Frances O’Grady of the TUC has pointed out, the deal does not go far enough to protect your hard-won employment rights and ensure there is no opportunity for these to be watered down after we leave the EU.
Of course the greatest uncertainty of all is that faced by the millions of EU citizens and their families in the UK.
It was shameful of the Prime Minister to accuse these people of “jumping the queue” in her speech to the CBI on Monday and it is shocking that we still have absolutely no details about what the future migration regime for the UK will be.
Prospect members in areas as diverse as science and film making need the certainty of knowing they will continue to be able to move and collaborate across borders in the future. Prospect will continue to campaign for a migration regime that protects our members and their industries.
Prospect national conference in June committed the union to campaigning for proper democratic oversight of this deal.
Given the continued uncertainty that has accompanied the final document and the evident chaos and manoeuvring in parliament, it is even more essential that the public is allowed to have its voice heard again in this process.
We will continue to campaign to make it clear that we cannot support a deal that contains more questions than answers, that puts the livelihoods of our members at risk and that would see our country embark on a blind Brexit with no idea where we will end up.