UPDATE 16/11/2018: It looks like the text of a possible Brexit deal has finally been agreed by negotiators. However, there is no guarantee that Theresa May will be able to get the deal through the British Parliament. As the details of the agreement have become clearer, opposition has grown among both eurosceptic and pro-European politicians in the UK. Now, Theresa May faces a drip-drip of ministerial resignations, and the possibility of a no confidence vote. Even if she clings on to power, the parliamentary arithmetic seems insurmountable; she just doesn’t seem to have the numbers needed to get a deal through parliament. What happens now? Are we looking at ‘no deal’ by default? Or the possibility of a second referendum? What do you think?
UPDATE 28/09/2018: Six months left on the clock, and Britain finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place in the Brexit talks. Either it goes for the “Canada model”, which means maximum freedom but also could cost the UK in terms of trade access to Europe (and could potentially throw up a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic), or it takes the “Norway model” of maximum access to the EU Single Market but at the cost of following European rules and accepting freedom of movement. Of course, the positions are more nuanced than that, but this is roughly where we are.
Meanwhile, Theresa May’s infamous Chequers plan is apparently dead in the water. It has the distinction of being the only plan that has united people on both sides of the debate, albeit in utter condemnation. Is there enough time to come up with an alternative? If Theresa May sticks to her guns and refuses to back down from the Chequers plan, does it mean “no deal” is inevitable? Let us know your thoughts and comments on the state of Brexit below, and we’ll put them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
ORIGINAL 16/07/2018: From the beginning, the Brexit negotiations have not run smoothly. The latest upheaval comes from a divided British government with the sudden resignations of both the Brexit negotiator, David Davis, and Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson. Will this lead to a collapse of the current government and another election to disrupt the ongoing process? The Brexit talks have to be finalised soon but will it be possible?
How bad would ‘no deal’ really be? This question remains on the table. In her Lancaster House speech in January 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May famously said that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain”. Eight months of tortuous negotiations later, she delivered another speech in Florence sketching (very broadly) her vision for the future EU-UK relationship. The phrase “no deal” had, by this point, been dropped from her rhetoric (though journalists did manage to goad it out of her during the press conference afterwards).
Remainers admit that “no deal” would be a disaster for the EU, but they fear it would be even more catastrophic for Britain. There have been reports of grounded aircraft, 30-mile traffic jams at the port of Dover, immediate food and medicine shortages, and the potential loss of millions of jobs.
Leavers dismiss this as “project fear”. They argue that preparing for “no deal” is an essential part of the negotiations. If the EU believes that Britain will agree to absolutely anything in order to avoid talks breaking down entirely, then it will push for the toughest position it can get. They believe the UK government should spend much more money on Brexit preparations, so that the EU understands it is serious about walking away. They hope that European businesses (which want to keep selling goods to Britain) will lobby their governments to accept a deal beneficial to the UK.
Would no deal be better than a bad deal for Britain? What would a “bad deal” look like? And what would be the consequences of “no deal”? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!