By Penza News
The UK will begin the formal Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017, said British Prime Minister Theresa May at Conservative party conference in Birmingham on October 2.
“Let’s be clear about what is going to happen. Article Fifty – triggered no later than the end of March. A Great Repeal Bill to get rid of the European Communities Act – introduced in the next Parliamentary session. Our laws made not in Brussels but in Westminster. Our judges sitting not in Luxembourg but in courts across the land. The authority of EU law in this country ended forever,” she stated.
The triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets a two-year deadline for the exit process that may be extended only by unanimous agreement of all EU Member States.
According to foreign Media, some Tories had duly been urging Prime Minister to delay invoking Article 50, at least until after the second round of the French presidential election in May, or even after the German federal election next September. According to the politicians, the change of leadership in these countries could contribute to “soft” Brexit.
However, Theresa May has rejected this advice. According to the analysts, it has made it more likely that the UK’s departure from the EU will turn to a “hard” Brexit, with Britain leaving both the customs union and the EU’s single market.
Commenting on the British government’s decision to launch Brexit in March 2017, Simon Lightfoot, researcher of European Politics at the University of Leeds, noted that it might be more to do with UK domestic politics.
“The next UK election will be 7 May 2020, so if Brexit negotiations take two years that is March 2019, meaning that the Brexit issue won’t overshadow the campaigning for the general election. There are also a number of MPs who are pushing for Brexit to start soon. It is important to remember the government only has a majority of 16 so it would not take many ‘rebels’ to scupper the domestic agenda of the new government, which is clearly different to the stance of the previous Cameron administration,” he told PenzaNews.
According to him, the UK government needs to get some sort of deal to restrict free movement.
“This was a key element of Theresa May’s speech in Birmingham, especially the point about low skilled migration. Yet the government is also under pressure from many businesses to negotiate access to the single market. How they square that circle will be really interesting to watch unfold,” Simon Lightfoot said.
Meanwhile, Britain’s future relationship with the EU will largely depend on the nature of the divorce, he said.
“If the divorce is amicable then it might not be something that we notice. We will still cooperate with the countries on a bilateral basis, still work with the EU on many issues, including migration, and still work with many through NATO. The so called ‘soft’ Brexit could see that relationship but a ‘hard’ Brexit might see a very different relationship and if the divorce is bitter then the relationship could become very fractious,” the analyst added.
In his opinion, Brexit has laid bare divisions in British society and politics that are crucial in understanding the position of the UK government.
“Things that might not make sense in foreign policy terms make perfect sense in domestic electoral political terms,” he said.
In turn, Bill Durodie, Head of Department and Chair of International Relations, Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies, the University of Bath, reminded that the head of the British government has recently supported the alliance with Europe.
“Theresa May – the unelected British Prime Minister – lest we forget, campaigned to Remain in the EU, warning that to vote Leave would require major concessions over which we would have no say regarding such matters as EU regulations, financial contributions and free-movement,” the analyst said.
“While her willingness to be seen to invoke Article 50 to make Britain ‘a fully independent, sovereign country’ as she proposed at her Party conference ought to be welcomed, it rather begs the question why she supported the UK not being sovereign or independent previously,” he added.
From his point of view, Theresa May’s promise to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act was for show only.
“Aside from it, she proposes not to abolish EU legislation but to have it incorporated into UK law to be determined on by future Parliaments over an indefinite future as and when they deem fit,” Bill Durodie reminded.
He also stressed that unlike the Brexit vote that galvanized the nation into political debate – this process would not engage the demos in any way.
“Theresa May’s favourite phrase is ‘getting the job done’ – the crie de guerre of bureaucrats the world over. As her predecessor she prefers to avoid debate. Her announcement appears to have caught many off-guard. They now believe she will deliver. However, the first rule of social science is to distinguish form from content. In fact, she is crafting a way to further exclude popular opinion from public life and to perpetuate a system of elite decision-making,” the expert said.
In turn, Peter Taylor-Gooby, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Kent, stressed that he did not support the referendum result.
“Brexit is a big mistake because it will damage the economy. If you do it, it has to be as soon as possible, because of uncertainty,” the expert said.
According to him, real priorities of the UK government negotiating Brexit should be as little change as possible, especially in access to the single market.
“But it will appear to prioritize low immigration due to chauvinist wing of party. They only have a majority in parliament of 12,” Peter Taylor-Gooby stressed.
Meanwhile, London’s future relationship with Brussels is hard to predict, he said.
“I think we will lose a lot of the financial sector but have workable trade deals. UK will become weaker and more unequal with poorer labour rights and more corrupt as it trades more outside Europe,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, Neil MacKinnon, Global Macro Strategist at VTB Capital, expressed diametrically opposite view, stressing that EU membership did not bring benefits to London.
“I am delighted with Theresa May’s decision to invoke article 50 by end March next year. I see no point in endless, tortuous and costly negotiations with the EU. In my opinion monetary union is an economic disaster. Name me a country apart from Germany that has benefited from it. Monetary union is a recipe for low growth and high unemployment,” the analyst said.
In his opinion, the one size fits all monetary policy does not work and voters in many European countries understand this.
“Here in the UK, 17 million people voted to leave the EU. This was the biggest vote in modern EU electoral history. This was a vote against an undemocratic super-state run by the Germans and a vote against its disastrous economic policies,” Neil MacKinnon said and added that Brexit is good.
“The UK economy is now predicted by the IMF to be the fastest growing G7 economy this year. Their previous predictions of a Brexit crash were wrong. The EU is an economic dinosaur and the problems with its banking system, for example, Deutsche Bank, shows that the UK is best out of the EU. A ‘clean’ Brexit, which seems to be the option now favoured by the UK government, in my opinion is the best way forward,” the expert concluded.