Boris Johnson's UK-EU Trade & Co-operation Agreement (TCA) falls a long way short of the independence for the UK that 17.4 million Britons voted for.

While the TCA says nothing on Northern Ireland, the NI Protocol to the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement remains.

It provides for the continuing direct jurisdiction of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice within Northern Ireland.

It requires customs checks to be introduced between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

In effect, part of the United Kingdom is to be severed as the price for ‘Brexit’ on the EU’s terms.

Allowing a separate customs jurisdiction to be formed within the UK is contrary to the 1801 Act of Union with Ireland, the Queen’s Coronation Oath to uphold the territorial integrity of the UK, as well as the more recent 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which precludes any change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without its people’s consent.

It will inevitably weaken the union and give further encouragement to the Scottish Nationalists.

If an EU customs border can be placed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, why not have one along Hadrian's Wall too?

The UK's fishing industry has also been sold short.

The UK will at least withdraw from the ruinous Common Fisheries Policy, but must wait five and a half years to regain full control of our fishing waters.

There might not be much left by then, as EU super trawlers will remain free to hoover up most of our fish.

We could in theory, crack down on the damaging ‘pulse’ fishing and dredge trawling, but only if the UK government has the courage to end such practices, which seems doubtful.

Once ‘transition’ ends, any attempt by the UK to cut back on the EU’s quota share could be met by EU tariffs against UK fish exports.

In return for our generosity, UK trawlers have been given a paltry 25% extra quota during 'transition'; enough to catch an extra ten Cod a month; hardly enough to pay the rising cost of fuel bills.

The most disturbing aspect of the TCA is its potential for the continuance of EU governance via the back door.

The TCA is quietly riddled with back channel ties to the EU.

Most worrying are the scores of committees and working parties that are to be set up under a Joint Partner Council to control various aspects of UK 'governance', on which the EU will have equal representation.

Whilst in theory, the TCA enables Britain to pass its own legislation, the protocols on competition, misleading described as ‘a level playing field’ with the EU, mean that any divergence with the EU in fields relating to ’environment, labour, climate change, social law, subsidy control, transportation, tax transparency’ (and many others not even remotely connected with trade) could lead to the UK being penalised by EU tariffs. An independent arbitration panel will be established to decide any disputes but we can well imagine how ’independent’ this might be, stuffed with ‘Sir Humphrey‘ type civil servants who for 47 years, saw nothing wrong in obeying EU rules.

Sadly there is much that we cannot celebrate with Boris's Fake Brexit. In many regards the UK will still be a rule taker, not a rule maker.

Our future competitiveness on the world stage will be hobbled by the EU ball and chain that continues to be wrapped around our ankles. Leaving the EU and trading with them under WTO rules would have been better for Britain by far,

John Butler

Chairman, UKIP Mid-Dorset & North Poole