May’s Brexit White Paper finally provides clarity – neither MPs nor the EU will accept it

Theresa May

The prime minister is stuck between a rock and a hard place: her plans aren’t soft enough for Labour or Brussels, but are too soft for Tory Eurosceptics.

With today’s release of the white paper laying out the government’s plans for Brexit, Theresa May has finally given MPs and the EU27 the clarity they have been begging for.

Unfortunately, the only thing that it really clarifies is that, in their current form, the government’s Brexit proposals will neither pass parliament nor be accepted by Brussels.

It underlines a truth from which May hasn’t yet found an escape: that the Brexit she is proposing is too soft for a critical mass of her MPs, and neither soft nor hard enough for Brussels.

Until today, the government’s problem was a lack of detail. Now there is plenty of it, but it’s almost exclusively the wrong detail as far as the people with whom May is negotiating in Brussels and Westminster are concerned.

While there has been a cautious, qualified welcome for some aspects of the paper from the EU – the European Parliament has welcomed its call for a Ukraine-style association agreement, for instance – it is clear that Brussels will demand further concessions.

Too many cherries are picked for it to be acceptable, and its convoluted, untested Frankenstein customs model – the facilitated customs arrangement – has already been privately dismissed as unworkable.

Ordinarily, May would expect these sorts of problems to be ironed into a palatable compromise over the course of a negotiation. But as far as dozens of her own MPs are concerned, it is already a compromise too far; and no matter how many overtures Downing Street makes to Labour, its MPs will not vote for it.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has dismissed its …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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