THE political declaration leaked yesterday morning sketches out a rough template for the UK and the EU’s post-Brexit future.

It’s worth noting that, unlike the Withdrawal Agreement, published last week, if this is signed off by the EU27 at a summit this weekend, it will not be considered a legally binding document.

READ MORE: Theresa May's post-Brexit plan fails to win over Tory waverers

It will merely go from being a draft aspiration to an official aspiration.

We saw a seven-page outline last week, but after furious lobbying of the Prime Minister by the Brexiteers in her own party, and thanks in part to anger from some EU countries at what was seen to be a too generous sop to the UK, the document is now some 26 pages.

Negotiations to turn this draft into a reality can only begin after the UK leaves the EU on March 29.

Even the discussions on what structure and what format the negotiations on the future relationship should take can’t begin until after Brexit day.

The text sets out plans for an “ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership” across a wide range of issues.

The future relationship will be based on a “balance of rights and obligations”, consistent with EU principles, particularly regarding

the integrity of the single market

and the customs union. While it “cannot amount to the rights or obligations of membership” for the UK, it should be developed “with high ambition with regard to its scope and depth and recognise that this might evolve over time”.

The final agreement will be close to the relationship the EU currently has with countries like Ukraine.

On trade, the two sides have agreed to develop “an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership”. This will include a free trade area as well as wider sectoral co-operation.

The trade deal will be “underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition” while “respecting the integrity of the union’s single market and customs union as well as the UK’s internal market”.

But the declaration also allows the UK to go its own way and work on “an independent trade policy” with other countries.

The most controversial, and disputed, part of the declaration – certainly north of the Border anyway – will be over fishing.

The document declares that the UK will become an “independent coastal state” outside the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

But, it goes on to say that Brussels and London should work to establish a new fisheries agreement, covering access to waters and quota shares, “within the context of the overall economic partnership”.

That’s spooked some MPs, who believe Theresa May might give away access to fishing rights in return for access to the EU market.

It commits the two sides to endeavour to conclude an agreement by July 2020 in order for a new regime on access and quotas to be in place for the start of 2021 when the transition period ends.

The declaration also brings back the possibility of the maximum facilitation, or “max fac”, technological solutions to facilitate “the ease of legitimate trade” across the Irish border.

“Facilitative arrangements and technologies will be considered in developing any alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing,” it says.

It envisages “a spectrum of different outcomes” in terms of the practical implementation of checks and controls on movements across borders.

Freedom of movement will end, according to the document. The two sides will aim to provide through their domestic laws visa-free travel for “short-term visits” which could mean visas for anyone wanting to visit Europe for more than a few weeks.

Negotiators will also consider future conditions for entry and stay for purposes such as research, study, training and youth exchanges.

On security it commits the two sides to look to agree a “broad, comprehensive and balanced” security partnership, covering terrorism, and cyber-attacks.