In less than nine months, on 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU. But as The Australian Tribune has warned since the beginning, vested interests on both sides of the Channel are determined to scuttle the divorce proceedings.
It’s been two years since the majority of UK voters cast their ballot in favour of ‘leave’. But the closer the UK draws to Brexit, the more divided the country and its government become.
Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said Brexit will happen, ruling out a second costly referendum.
But after the wave of resignations, which came only hours after May had appeared to have won over her cabinet, Brexit, or at least the Brexit that the British citizens thought they voted for, appears to be all but dead in the water.
Just two days after talks at May’s Chequers country residence, David Davis quit as Brexit secretary. By the next day so had foreign minister Boris Johnson, a loud pro-Brexit voice. Since then two more conservative MPs have tendered their resignations.
Hard or soft Brexit?
The division over a hard or soft Brexit is clearly taking its toll, as many of the resignations have come out of protest for parts of May’s plan to detangle Britain from the EU.
It was a case of all talk and no action, with claims that crucial decisions were postponed, including the no deal scenario. And it was leading to a soft or semi-Brexit that would lock large parts of the British economy in the EU system and offer no UK control of that system, according to Mr Johnson.
May isn’t just facing criticism from within her own government either. US President Donald Trump questioned her proposed Brexit strategy in a newspaper interview during his recent visit to the UK. A stance he later went back on, during a meeting with May last Friday.
And now, May has warned there may be ‘no Brexit at all’ due to continued attempts to undermine her plan to leave the EU.
On Sunday, May was quoted in the Daily Mail newspaper saying, ‘My message to the country this weekend is simple: we need to keep our eyes on the prize.’
‘If we don’t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all,’ she continued. She also insisted that Britain would take a tough stance in future negotiations with the EU.
With talks swirling on whether the current proposed Brexit deal is just a starting point from which the British government will regress, May took the opportunity to address concerns during a joint Press conference with Donald Trump.
‘Let me be clear. Our Brexit deal is not some long wish-list from which negotiators get to pick and choose. It is a complete plan with a set of outcomes that are non-negotiable.’
Should May sue the EU?
Trump did have his say yet again on the Brexit strategy, after speaking to May on Friday. She later told the BBC that he advised her to sue the European Union. Advice that she ignored on account of it being ‘too brutal’.
May still does not have an agreed-upon Brexit deal with the EU. This has ramped up planning for the ‘no deal’ Brexit that could shake up financial markets and upset trade flows across Europe and elsewhere.
Or it could see a second referendum and Brexit derailed.
By Leah Wallace
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