By Stefan M. Kløvning
The United Kingdom, Brexit – During a 12-hour long meeting on Friday, PM Theresa May managed to persuade all 26 cabinet members to back a soft Brexit blueprint for the future of Britain, which suggests forming a new free-trade area with Britain after they leave the EU on 29 March 2019. It wasn’t so much persuasion, however, as coercion. As Bloomberg reports, ‘May also stamped her authority on her Cabinet, warning colleagues that if they criticize government policy they must resign.’
After attaining the necessary backing, she tweeted an animation outlining the 12 most important aspects of the blueprint:
The response to the tweet consisted almost unanimously of backlash and fury, accusing her of having damaged both her party and their democracy. One commenter observed, for instance, that ‘they spent a whole day thrashing out this “Deal”. Yet here is an animated presentation that (believe me) took HOURS & HOURS (possibly a few days) to knock up. So it’s all pre-prepared … The EU will reject this, they then become the baddie.’
European diplomats are uncertain about whether May’s blueprint really will be accepted by the EU, one stating that ‘We are very unsure this is going to fly.’ Since Brexit, European leaders have clearly stated that they do not wish Britain to cherry-pick from the EU’s rulebook. The primary issue in the blueprint appears to be that it seeks to keep only some of the four freedoms underpinning the internal market (goods, services, capital, and people) while rejecting the last. The EU has declared these freedoms as indivisible, and fear that separating them will undermine the ‘European Project.’ Despite hope looking bleak for the deal, however, Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian MEP coordinating The European Parliament’s position on Brexit, considered it a prominent suggestion to look further into.
Mrs. May wrote to Conservative lawmakers that whereas she had allowed the cabinet to “express their individual views” in the past, this “privilege” was now revoked. She also specifically stated that she was ready to fire Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson if he tried to undermine the deal. Jacob-Rees Mogg, leader of the European Research Group of Pro-Brexit Tory MPs, was very vocal against the deal, warning that the UK would remain as ‘rule-takers,’ and suggesting that this deal may even be worse than no deal at all.
This will require legislation and if, when we get the detailed legislation, it turns out that it is a punishment Brexit, that it is keeping us in the European Union in all but name, I will stick to the Conservative party’s manifesto commitments and will not vote for it.
Business consultant John Longworth echoed this conception, calling it BRINO – Brexit in name only, also accusing her of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners. Even many pro-EU politicians in Britain are critical to the blueprint, such as Labour MP Chuka Umunna, describing it as ‘yet another behind-closed-doors stitch up that would leave us all worse off.’
Former UKIP leader and Euroskeptic MEP Nigel Farage was disappointed over May’s deal but got in a better mood by going out to fish … a shark.
The Chequers blueprint can be read in its entirety here: