Having been rather coy so far about the Brexit deal she will be aiming for, Theresa May finally lifted the veil today.
She did not reveal all the details of her negotiating position ahead of the formal triggering of article 50 in two months’ time — nor should she – as that would merely have compromised her negotiating strategy. But after her big set piece at Lancaster House in front of assembled journalists and foreign dignitaries, we now know a little more.
The Prime Minister explicitly confirmed for the first time that the UK will be leaving the single market, continued membership of which is incompatible with her determination to control Britain’s borders and to be free from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. We have, it would seem, the makings of what would once be labelled a “hard” Brexit, though Mrs. May was at pains to expand her lexicon by talking of a “clean” Brexit – though how this “clean” break sits with the transitional arrangements (or as the PM now prefers to call it “a phased process of implementation”) which will almost inevitably arise in the short term from our exit from the EU, who knows.
The PM further hinted that Britain will be leaving the customs union in its current incarnation. Why this should have come as a surprise to anyone is a mystery. If one of the aims of leaving is to free ourselves from the shackles of the EU to negotiate better trade deals of our own, staying in the customs union would frustrate the UK from signing such deals with global economic powers such as China and India.
If the Prime Minister can deliver on her promise of a half in-half out arrangement that would maintain tariff free access to the EU, whilst allowing the UK to sign new trade deals with the world’s “fastest growing exporting markets”, then there may be some hope that she will deliver on her word to forge a “truly global Britain”.
Whatever the outcome of today’s speech, the political and economic landscape of Britain will fundamentally change. Whether the UK sinks or swims over the coming years will be influenced by proactive businesses that ensure their needs are being heard by those who will be negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union – both in Whitehall and in Brussels.
Newgate’s comprehensive ‘Brexit Audit and Advocacy Programme’ can help businesses understand and navigate the political, regulatory, and economic impacts that lie ahead, providing reassurance to investors, shareholders and workers that they are prepared for what is potentially the biggest political and regulatory upheaval in the UK for decades.
Our Brexit Audit service can:
- Help management understand how Brexit might affect their business including political, regulatory and economic impacts;
- Identify potential costs and benefits, as well as risks and upsides to your business;
- Strategically position the organisation’s response to Brexit, including engaging with and influencing UK Government and opinion formers;
- Complement and challenge internal Brexit assessments and mitigation strategies.
For further information, please contact Newgate’s Head of Public Affairs, Simon Gentry