Land of hope and…

Britain has less than nine months to go to come up with a divorce deal for its separation from Europe. In spite of a closed-door meeting at Chequers last weekend, which ended with a champagne toast, it isn’t looking good. PBS reports: Quote:

LONDON — British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned Monday, adding to divisions over Brexit that threaten to tear apart Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

May’s office said in a terse statement that the prime minister had accepted Johnson’s resignation and would name a replacement soon.

Johnson, one of the best-known and most flamboyant members of the government, quit just hours after the resignation late Sunday of Brexit Secretary David Davis, the government’s top Brexit official.

Davis said he could not support May’s plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU, which he said gave “too much away, too easily.” End quote.

Teresa May was always in the Remain camp. However, once she became Prime Minister, she appeared to accept that Brexit was inevitable. Now she has lost two key supporters of Brexit, both of whom think that the proposal that has been put together fails to give Britain the power it needs. Quote:

If Davis’s resignation rattled May, Johnson’s shook the foundations of her government.

The resignations came just days after May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind her plan for a divorce deal with the EU.

Less than nine months remain until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019, and the EU has warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a divorce deal.

Steve Baker, a junior Brexit minister also resigned. May appointed staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker Dominic Raab as the country’s new Brexit secretary.

Before Johnson quit, May’s official spokesman, James Slack, said Britain wanted to “move forward at pace” in the negotiations. End quote.

This is becoming very untidy. They had wanted to have an agreement in place by October, enabling both sides to move forward with Britain’s exit from the European Union in March next year. Quote:

During a 12-hour meeting on Friday, May’s fractious Cabinet — including Davis — finally agreed on a plan for future trade ties with the EU.

The plan seeks to keep the U.K. and the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.

Some Brexit-supporting lawmakers are angry at the proposals, saying they will keep Britain tethered to the bloc and unable to change its rules to strike new trade deals around the world. End quote.

Which probably suits Teresa May very well, but the agreement is the worst of both worlds. As neither a full member of the European Union but unable to act as a free country, Britain will be hogtied. Britain has enough friends around the globe to be able to negotiate new deals on many fronts, including, of course, the European Union. Quote:

In a resignation letter, Davis said the “‘common rule book’ policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.”

Davis also said that May’s plan “would be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome.”

His departure was hailed by pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers, who have long considered May too prone to compromise with the EU. They believe the proposals breach several of the “red lines” the government has set out, including a commitment to leave the bloc’s tariff-free customs union.

Some euroskeptic lawmakers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer, such as Johnson, who in the past has disagreed publicly with his boss. End quote.

Not likely now, although that will depend on whether or not Teresa May hangs on as Prime Minister. A vote of no confidence in her could change everything, and it seems quite likely. Quote:

But leading pro-Brexit legislator Jacob Rees-Mogg said “I don’t think a no-confidence vote is immediately in the offing.” He urged May to abandon her plans and take a tougher line with Brussels.

“Friday’s announcement was turning red lines into a white flag, and David Davis has made that so clear in his resignation letter,” Rees-Mogg said. end quote.

There is no point in Britain going through the costly process of Brexit without there being some considerable advantage at the end of it. In forming an agreement that still kowtows to Europe, Teresa May is pleasing no one and her head may be on the chopping block because of it. Watch this space.

 


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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