Theresa May’s big Brexit speech in Florence conformed to most expectations – except, perhaps, her own. Following weeks of stalled negotiations and squabbles within her cabinet, the entire Brexit process has been called into question. Speaking on 22 September, to a room in which most important EU delegates and officials were absent, May will have wanted to calm fears about about Brexit chaos. But she was far from convincing.
Colleagues or conspirators?
In the front row listening to May sat Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond. These three men effectively represent the two sides of a Conservative Party split down the middle over Europe.
Davis has often promoted ‘hard Brexit’ and spoken against the possibility of a transitional arrangement, as has Johnson. Hammond, on the other hand, has advocated a softer approach, retaining access to the single market for a fixed period.
May, of course, finds herself with the impossible job of trying to keep both these sides happy. If she does not, her party falls apart. Those hoping for clarity will therefore be disappointed. In Florence she waffled and avoided details.
None of those are best for the UK or the European Union
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
In a further attempt to placate the right wing of her party, she even confirmed her continued belief in the mantra “no deal is better than a bad deal”, when asked a question by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
At that point, listeners may have thought the UK will walk away from negotiations if necessary. But in order to appease the Hammond faction, May also proposed a transitional arrangement, which she described as “an implementation period of around two years”. Such an arrangement would likely come at a cost of tens of billions.
Mirroring her party, these two positions appear somewhat contradictory.
In keeping with much of her premiership so far, May’s weak speech contained little in the way of detail. Instead it attempted to cover the gaping chasm in her cabinet. The Prime Minister thus said everything but mostly nothing, and will not have convinced doubters that Brexit can be a success.
Essentially, she will buy two extra years of negotiating time from the EU and hope that something comes up.
– Read more Canary articles about Brexit here.
– Join us so we can continue to bring you the news that matters.
Featured image via screenshot
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?