The Teresa May Brexit strategy

The PM’s First Week in Charge

Teresa May has completed her first few days in office. Parliament is taking its summer break and will sit again shortly before the Party Conferences.

The Telegraph has this assessment of progress so far: “Theresa May’s first week in charge: The new Iron Lady, Corbyn’s worst nightmare and a sober introduction to Europe – 7 things we learnt”.

The “Torygraph’s” verdict is of importance to the Conservative Party, especially in the run-up to the Party Conference,  and it may be thought that this article will be welcomed in No 10 Downing Street.

May-Hollande Press Conference  -Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

However, while Mrs May’s “getting to know you” visits to Berlin and Paris went as well as could be expected,  the Telegraph  points out that at the post meeting press conference, President Hollande made a key observation about Free Movement:-

” He insisted that while France would reluctantly grant the UK some wiggle room on the timing of Article 50, on the thorny issue of free movement of people, there would be none.”  

Rightly, the Telegraph points out:  ” It is this that will be the key conundrum of the coming talks – how Britain can assert some control over EU worker migration while retaining access to the EU single market.

Mrs May was Home Secretary before becoming Prime Minister.  She knows only too well how impossible it was to meet the daft commitment of the Cameron government to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands while respecting the EU “free movement” obligation.

She must also be aware that the Home Office relocated asylum seekers to the poorest towns in England in order to save money.  See this article in the 26th January 2016 issue of the Sun: “Map reveals the top 10 UK towns where asylum seekers are being ‘dumped’“.  The MP for Rochdale is reported in the article as saying: “You have groups of asylum seekers, who through no fault of their own have nothing to do because they are not allowed to work, wandering around the town centre, not speaking English. It’s not fair on the asylum seekers and it’s not fair on Rochdale residents.”

Perhaps it is fair to say that while Mrs May loyally supported her predecessor’s campaign to remain in the EU, she is aware of the impact of immigration on  the referendum vote.  So she is willing to attempt to find a solution which permits the UK to continue to have access to the single market in goods and services WITHOUT  free movement.

Rather surprisingly, yesterday’s Daily  Mail reported this warning from the head of the National Audit Office: “Brexit is a ‘tidal wave’ that will wash away and cancel major infrastructure projects such as new nuclear power, spending watchdog warns”.    The Mail also had this:  “Germans raid the City! Leave ‘isolated’ London and get rich in Frankfurt, mayor tells financial firms”.   Even if these two articles were rather buried in the gossip, it’s good to see the Mail actually writing something about a real economic issue.

HM Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Clown Boris in his new guise as HM Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was in New York asserting that the UK would keep EU passporting rights for Financial Services without having to continue with free movement: see this Financial Times report: “Johnson expects City to keep passporting rights – New foreign secretary says Brexit can be ‘fantastic thing’ for UK finance“.

Obviously, Clown Boris had to say something like that. But  Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris, are queuing up to offer their cities as headquarters for London’s EU financial services operations.

It remains to be seen whether the efforts to obtain continued access to the EU single market for goods and services without a commitment to free movement will be possible but there are numerous experts who consider it highly unlikely to succeed since it is one of the EU “sacred cows”.

The Guardian has a useful piece on the sequencing of Brexit negotiations: “UK officials seek draft agreements with EU before triggering article 50.

Financial Impact of Brexit

The Times has this: “‘Flash’ survey points to post-Brexit recession”.  The gist of the piece is as follows: “The British economy has suffered a “dramatic deterioration” in activity after the vote to leave the European Union, dropping to a level not seen since the financial crisis, according to a closely watched survey”.   See also this piece from the BBC:  “Brexit causes dramatic drop in UK economy, data suggests“.

On 19th July the Financial Times reported a downwards revision of the UK’s financial situation post Brexit: “IMF cuts growth forecast for UK following Brexit vote – Economists knock 1% point off projection for 2017 and say global outlook dragged down“.  Yesterday, the Financial Times reported: “Brexit fears of market contagion look overdone – Britain’s referendum has had a limited impact on global markets“.  No doubt, these and other indicators will receive close attention from the Chancellor and the Bank of England and will be reflected in the Autumn statement.

The Guardian published this this analysis on Friday:  “One month on, what has been the impact of the Brexit vote so far?”

Other Brexit Issues

We know that the judicial review application seeking to ensure that Parliament vote to authorise the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is due to be heard in October with the Divisional Court already making provision for an eventual “leapfrog”  appeal to the Supreme Court.  This is an important matter of some constitutional importance.

Sadly it is now also known that Mr “Repulsive” Aaron Banks has plans for a new political party: “Leave donor plans new party to replace Ukip – possibly without Farage in charge“. This ought to be a concern for the established parties.


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