Brexit Briefing - May 2018

Not a lot of progress since my last Brexit Briefing in April. A little bit more of the draft withdrawal agreement has turned from white or amber to green but there has been no progress on the stumbling blocks of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic or the governance of the withdrawal agreement (or any other agreement between Britain and the EU). Without such agreement there can be no withdrawal agreement and hence no implementation or transition period.

The problem for the government is that maintaining a control free border means accepting at least some of the disciplines of the EU which in turn means abandoning dreams of an independent trade policy. However, if Ed Balls and Peter Sands are right the benefits of having an independent trade policy are pretty illusory (see What Sort of Trade Deal (if any) could the UK negotiate with the USA? 8 June 2018).

I am increasingly of the view that there will be no withdrawal agreement by 29 March 2019 and that businesses should at least make contingency plans for a very rough economic rode next year.  More


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