As agreement is reached with the EU, Theresa May’s Brexit deal will come before parliament. In this contribution, Benjamin Martill, Dahrendorf Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow at LSE, breaks down the parliamentary arithmetic and assesses her options.
My Kingdom for a Deal
Theresa May has, at long last, reached agreement with the EU on the terms of Britain’s impending withdrawal from the Union on 29 March 2019. The deal is politically controversial and seems to have pleased no one, especially the hardline Brexiters. This is because it could see the UK remain within a single customs territory with the EU, precluding the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland would also remain in key elements of the single market for goods, for the same reason. This ‘backstop’ has proven to be the most contentious element of the Withdrawal Agreement, dragging out negotiations which were almost 80 percent complete at the beginning of 2018.
In a report published last week, Oliver Patel assesses the EU’s institutional and strategic approach to the Brexit negotiations, and considers what the EU wants from the process. Here, he summarises the core points of the paper and outlines how the UK has been outflanked by the EU’s negotiating tactics thus far.
October’s European Council summit represented ‘more of the same’ for the Brexit process. Although EU leaders were more cordial than in Salzburg, their fundamental position hasn’t changed: there must be some form of backstop which ties Northern Ireland to the Customs Union and Internal Market for goods, and it can’t be time-limited. Without this, there will be no withdrawal agreement. The ball is now in the UK’s court, they say.
As British Brexit negotiators are hoping to secure an agreement on the transition period at the European Council on 22-24 March, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott explores what they should keep in mind, and discusses sticking points to prepare for.
Both the EU and UK appear to accept that a transition period (or as the UK Government prefers it – ‘implementation period’) will be necessary to effect Brexit, as it is unlikely that agreement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be reached and implemented before 29 March 2019. Continue reading
On Friday 2 March, Theresa May gave a speech in which she laid out some of the “hard truths” of Brexit, but her strategy with regard to the negotiations is as unclear as ever. Benjamin Martill (LSE) argues there’s value in being intentionally vague.
Does Theresa May have a Brexit strategy? To most observers of the chaotic Brexit process, the answer would be an emphatic ‘no’. May’s administration has lurched from crisis to crisis, is riven by internal divisions between Tory MPs, and has by all accounts failed to articulate a clear and coherent position in the first round of negotiations. Internecine warfare between proponents of a hard and a soft Brexit have been reignited by concerns that May is softening her stance on Brexit. Continue reading
In a report published this week Piet Eeckhout and Oliver Patel assess the options for a Brexit transitional arrangement. They argue that the most realistic option is for the full body of EU law to continue to apply in the UK, while the UK simultaneously ceases to be an EU member state. The report’s conclusions are summarised here.