The deep divisions within the Conservative government have been exposed again, as Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond declared the need for an ‘interim Brexit’. Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s insistence on triggering Article 50 by the end of March 2017, Hammond’s comments cast further doubt over the government’s Brexit planning.
A lack of clarity
Since she assumed the role of Prime Minister off the back of the Brexit controversy, May has faced criticism for her vague public statements about it. Neither the public, political commentators, nor even members of her own government can discern any form of plan.
For months, her ministers could only offer the tautology that “Brexit means Brexit”. This then morphed into “red, white and blue Brexit”. And Hammond has now called for an “interim Brexit” or “transitional Brexit.”
Strategy, or no strategy?
But Hammond’s comments have caused more confusion. Article 50 only allows for two years of negotiations to establish a new trade deal with EU members. But a House of Lords committee, supported by Hammond, stated that from where we are now, this will not be enough. Hammond said:
an emerging view among businesses, among regulators, and among thoughtful politicians… on both sides of the English channel that having a longer period to manage the adjustment… would be generally helpful, would tend towards a smoother transition and would run less [sic] risks of disruption, including, crucially, risks to financial stability.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
As a result, Hammond supports the idea of an “interim deal”. This would tide the UK over while negotiations continue over the actual deal. But it flies in the face of statements from Brexit secretary David Davis. Davis said he was “not really interested” in a transitional arrangement.
Can open, worms everywhere
It seems clear that Hammond has launched a veiled attack against the Prime Minister and the Tory ministers known as the ‘three Brexiteers’.
If two years is not long enough, as the Chancellor says, why was May so determined to invoke Article 50 now? Why not wait until a more appropriate time? Suspicions will remain that this was only to appease the hard right of her party.
In addition, in talking about his agreement with “thoughtful politicians”, was the Chancellor suggesting that some involved in Brexit are not thoughtful? Perhaps even some of his colleagues?
We all wait for answers. But as those in Theresa May’s party fight among themselves and she does whatever she can to hold them together, Britain continues to head for its Brexit train-wreck. And a coherent government strategy appears further away than ever.
– Read more Canary articles about Brexit here.
– Support us, so we can continue to bring you the news that matters.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?