Theresa May likely to opt for ‘hard Brexit’

May’s speech will clarify Britain’s stand and whether she will choose “hard Brexit”.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May’s much-awaited speech on Brexit on Tuesday, many global analysts expect her to spell out Britain’s preparedness on abandoning single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice, in order to achieve a clean separation from the bloc.

May’s Tuesday speech at London’s Lancaster House will clarify Britain’s stand on the key agendas of Brexit negotiations and whether she will adopt a “hard Brexit”.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, May will probably stress upon the UK’s regaining full control of its borders, even at an expanse of single market membership, and abandon the customs union and focus on pursuing international trade deals. The Sunday Telegraph cited “sources familiar with the prime minister’s thinking” to underscore that May might be headed for “hard”, or “clean”, Brexit.

The hard exit might be detrimental to EU’s economic and trade interests. UK’s leaving the EU bloc without a preferential trade arrangement would make Britain significantly poorer, shutting it off from the EU market of 500 million consumers.

May earlier underlined that “Brexit meant Brexit”, giving indications that the British Prime Minister is driving the country towards a divisive and destructive exit from the group.

"If the UK had voted 52-48 to remain you can bet that Theresa May would never be pushing towards a hard Remain. There would be no embracing of the Euro, no joining the Schengen Zone. But the Prime Minister seems hell bent on ripping up everything we share with the European Union no matter how damaging that is to the UK,” Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said.

"This is an incredibly reckless move by Theresa May. It will harm the country for generations to come. The Conservatives once claimed to be the party of business that record is in tatters," he said.

One of May’s key announcements could be about regaining full control of its borders, even if it comes at the cost of losing access to the single market.

Brexit secretary David Davis, in a written piece in the Sunday Times, has hinted that the UK might opt for a transitional deal with the other 27 EU nations.

“We don’t want the EU to fail, we want it to prosper economically and politically, and we need to persuade our allies that a strong new partnership with the UK will help the EU to do that. If it proves necessary, we have said that we will consider time for implementation of new arrangements,” he said.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jan 16, 2017 12:00 IST