Brexit: Theresa May throws away her only card
This email notifies you of a new blog post on Ephems, at http://www.barder.com/4792, in which I register deep regret that Theresa May has opted to set herself a deadline, the end of next March, for triggering Article 50 (A50), marking the start of the formal negotiation of an agreement on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. By unnecessarily and prematurely setting a date by which she will trigger A50, the prime minister has thrown away her only source of possible leverage with the rest of the EU (the EU27), many of them impatient to get on with the negotiations and put the potentially destabilising Brexit issue behind them. That leverage could have been employed to motivate our EU partners to agree to preliminary pre-A50 discussions of a “framework” for Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Despite EU leaders’ public refusals to start negotiations before Britain triggers A50, preliminary ‘discussions’ to agree on a framework for future relations are explicitly envisaged in an official European Parliament briefing paper and by clear implication in the text of Article 50 itself. In such discussions our government would have an opportunity to stress the obvious need for an interim trade agreement with the EU to cover the years in which a substantive trade agreement will need to be negotiated after Brexit. Above all, preliminary agreement on a framework for our future relationship would provide an opportunity for it to be submitted for approval or rejection by the British parliament and people before our government triggers A50. Please visit http://www.barder.com/4792 to see the argument and the key texts and sources in full, including the text of my letter on the subject published in the Guardian of 5 October 2016.
For the full text of the blog post, and to read other people’s comments on it, please go to http://www.barder.com/4792, contributing any comments supporting or challenging or just commenting on the post, at the bottom of the post, not please in reply to this round-robin email.
Greetings from a sunny but cool autumnal day in Wandsworth, south-west London.
5 October 2016