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PM has run out of negotiation space

July 5, 2018 1:11 PM
By Robert Douglas in Congleton Chronicle

Dear Sir,

It is extraordinarily incompetent of our Prime Minister to attend the recent EU summit, which has taken place two years since the E.U. Referendum and 15 months since the unnecessary triggering of Article 50, for her not to be able to put forward detailed proposals on Brexit to the other 27 heads of government .

Clearly, it is a sign of weakness that the Prime Minister is deciding to hold a full Cabinet summit at Chequers next week-end, after, rather than before, the recent E.U. summit; in an attempt to thrash out an agreed Cabinet position on Brexit. Of course, this should have been resolved by the Cabinet many, many months before the recent E.U. summit. Therefore, the Prime Minister has in effect put "the cart before the horse".

Given that all the various parliaments in the E.U. have to sign off whatever Brexit deal is agreed before the end of March 2019, assuming that agreement is reached, means, in reality, that everything has to be fully agreed at the next E.U. summit in October, 2018.

There are still Brexiteers in the Cabinet believing in the myth of "having your cake and eating it" because they still think the U.K. can have better benefits from part membership of the E.U. club compared to those enjoyed by fully fledged members. Furthermore, numerous Cabinet ministers are openly deriding colleagues so that in effect civil war has created the most shambolic Government, certainly in my lifetime.

The Prime Minister must know in her heart that whatever the proposal to obtain access to the E.U.'s single market she concocts from the forthcoming Chequers meeting, it will almost certainly be rejected by the E.U. because it will fail to meet all the cardinal rules of the E.U.'s single market requiring all four freedoms of movement - goods, services, capital and people.

In addition, the Prime Minister has been unsuccessfully trying to find a "way out" over the thorny issue of Northern Ireland and avoiding a hard border. There is and never was any solution to this problem other than acceptance of being a full member of the E.U.'s single market and customs union. The quicker the Prime Minister and her cabinet grasp this crucial point, the better for all concerned.

It was imperative that the Prime Minister presented the complete detailed plans of her Brexit proposals to the other Heads of Government at the recent E.U. summit in order to to allow sufficient time for negotiations which will inevitably be a long drawn out affair. By failing to present these proposals at the recent E.U. summit, the Prime Minister has run out of "negotiation space". As a consequence, the U.K. is now totally at the mercy of the E.U. because all, except the most ardent Brexiteer, fully realises the option of a "no deal" would be so devastating to the U.K., it can never be a realistic option. This is also evidenced by the fact the U.K. government has failed to take the necessary steps to prepare for the "no deal" option.

It is not surprising given the incompetence of this Government in its handling of Brexit, that a recent Ipsos MORI poll revealed 67% of voters are not confident that the Prime Minister will get a good deal for the U.K. in its negotiations with the E.U.

If the cabinet was a board of directors, the shareholders would long ago have sacked the board for incompetence and gross negligence.

Let us hope that it is not too long before the people of this country are given such an opportunity.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Douglas,

2 Hollycroft,

Congleton CW12 4SH