When she became Prime Minister, Theresa May uttered those famous words ‘Brexit means Brexit’ but we are three months from the Referendum and the UK Government hasn’t said what the word means. All we know is that the UK Government will trigger Article 50 to begin negotiations to leave the EU ‘early in 2017.’ The use of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is time limited and it was used to buy time in the debate. However, frustrations are beginning to build over a lack of definition of the word. While it is obvious that Remain voters wanted to stay in the EU, it is more difficult to work out what the Leave voters were actually voting for.
It can be argued that Leave voters were split into three camps. There were those who just wanted to come out of the EU whatever the consequences, even at the expense of the United Kingdom splitting. This group was largely UKIP voters and supporters. The second group were the globalists who generally favour a clean break with the EU. This is also called a ‘hard Brexit’. Those included Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, who wants Britain to be at the heart of a global free trade community and David Davis, the Minister in charge of Brexit. A couple of months ago, Davis was reported as saying that Britain should be part of a free trade area ten times the size of the European Union. This would mean in population terms that the UK would have to form a free trade bloc with five of the seven billion population on the planet. If Davis is speaking in GDP terms, it would mean that Britain would have to trade with other planets. Many globalists wish to leave the Single Market and both Fox and Davis seem to be of that opinion. In his Commons Statement in early September, David Davis said that it was ‘improbable’ that Britain would stay in the Single Market if the UK could not control its borders. A spokesperson for the UK Prime Minister then said that this was a personal opinion and a decision had not yet been taken by her Government.
The third category are those who would wish to still have access to the Single Market while leaving the EU and see an EU/UK trade relationship as critical, especially in areas like financial services It is thought that some members of the Cabinet who originally favoured ‘Remain’ are of this view.
Of course, there is a fourth Group of Leave voters. They just wanted to give David Cameron and the Establishment ‘a good kicking.’
So three months further on, we are no wiser about what ‘Brexit’ actually means. The lack of definition is leading to uncertainty both amongst business but also amongst politicians. Last week a group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs formed a Group called ‘Leave Means Leave.’ Actually, leave means a lot of things including taking time off work but this Group is in favour of a hard Brexit In the European Union, positions also seem to be hardening with Jean Claude Juncker not wanting to concede much to the UK and the Visigrad Countries insisting that there can be no deal on Single Market access without free movement of people.
There is one thing that can be said. Brexit is becoming a long drawn out process and not an event.
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