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Leading Research Centre Discovers Secret Backstop to Wales’ 1284 Treaty with England: Wales Must Stay in Customs Union with Ireland

1 April 2019

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A team of Wales Governance Centre researchers today announce the discovery of a hitherto secret codicil to the Statute of Rhuddlan that has profound implications for the current parliamentary deliberations over Brexit and Wales’ future economic relationship with its nearest neighbours.

The 1284 statute – which legally annexed Wales into England – contains a clause that guarantees in perpetuity the right of wool and leather merchants in annexed lands the right of access to the wool markets of Ireland.

This provision effectively created a single market for wool, leathers and other essential goods between Wales and Ireland in perpetuity.

Wales Governance Centre Director, political historian and noted talking head Professor Richard Wyn Jones said, “A detailed search of Wikipedia led us to discover a previously overlooked backstop provision in the Statute of Rhuddlan that annexed Wales into the Kingdom of England”.

Although the Welsh negotiating team were underpowered and (quite literally) outgunned by the Edward I’s Norman invading force led by Michel de Berlaymont, the Welsh were able to secure one vital concession known as the ‘Ewe Compromise’.

Because access to wool markets has always been vital for the Welsh economy, the Ewe Compromise was given force in a codicil that guarantees free access to Irish markets in perpetuity. If this right of access were ever cut off, a backstop would cleave the rules of trade in Wales to the regulations in Ireland.

Once the seat of government and capital of Gwynedd for the Welsh king Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, Rhuddlan’s modern-day highlights include its Castle, the A525 bypass that eases access to Rhyl, and a number of fine dining establishments.

Professor of Ewe Law Jo Hunt concluded: “As Theresa May negotiates a Brexit deal, this backstop means that Ewe compromise is even more vital in securing Wales’ future.”

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