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Brexit realities 'will hit home'

May urges opposition to help deliver Brexit deal

Theresa May on Marr
Theresa May: call for support

Prime Minister Theresa May will make a direct appeal to opposition parties to help her deliver the Brexit deal.

On Tuesday she will urge them to “contribute, not just criticise” and help improve her policies in the Commons instead of undermining them.

Mrs May will insist that ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and leaving the Single Market and Customs Union remain immoveable positions.

However, in a speech on Tuesday she will accept that circumstances have changed since the election.

Addressing at the launch of a report on working practices she will say: “It will be even more important to make the case for our policies and our values, and to win the battle of ideas both in Parliament as well as in the country.

“So I say to the other parties in the House of Commons… come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country.

“We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion – the hallmarks of our Parliamentary democracy – ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found.”

Her appeal for support is unlikely to find favour with Sir Vince Cable who is expected to be elected LibDem leader and believes the British people will call for a second vote on EU membership once the full impact of Brexit becomes clear.

Sir Vince said in two interviews on Friday and Sunday that Brexit may not happen and that Britain may remain in the trading bloc.

Sir Vince Cable: need for another vote

He bases his views on a growing realisation among voters of the economic realities of pulling out.

“I think it is right to aim for Britain remaining in the single market and customs union and retaining all of the collaborative arrangements around research and environmental standards. They are things we should be fighting for,” told an online publication.

“But it may be that at the end of it, we are faced with a stark choice between crashing out of the EU with a no deal or a very bad deal, or on the other hand going back to membership.

“That’s why my party argues that we should have a further vote on this. That didn’t resonate with voters at this year’s election. We all know that. It was premature and people thought we were harking back to the last one. But in two years time when it’s very clear what the economic impacts are I think the public will welcome that kind of option.”

Asked by London-based Business Insider UK if he thought  Britain could end up remaining a member of the EU, he replied: “It’s certainly a possibility. It’s not yet a probability.”

The former Business Secretary dismissed suggestions that he was a stop-gap leader and said that if he is elected he would serve beyond 2020.

“I am clear that I am not just there as a stopgap or a caretaker,” he said.

He was re-elected to the Twickenham constituency in June and announced his candidacy for the leadership after Tim Farron said he was standing down. Sir Vince is currently on course to become leader as all other contenders have stepped aside.

He ruled out taking the Lib Dems into coalition with either the Conservatives or the Labour Party.

“We are not remotely contemplating coalition with the current Labour Party or with the Conservatives,” he said.

On Sunday he said in a television interview that there were “enormous” divisions in the Labour and the Tory parties and a “deteriorating” economy would make people think again about Brexit.

“People will realise that we didn’t vote to be poorer, and I think the whole question of continued membership will once again arise,” he said.

His comments were dismissed by Eurosceptic Conservative MP Owen Paterson, who said Sir Vince was just “chucking buckets of water around” and ignoring the “huge vote” in favour of leaving in the referendum and at the general election, where the two main parties backed Brexit.

“Vince Cable’s party went down in votes, as did the other little parties who want to stay in the European Union,” he said.

He added: “I am afraid Vince is behind history. We are going to leave. We are on target.”

Liz Cameron
Liz Cameron: valued links

In a new survey the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found near “universal consensus” for some kind of transitional deal after Brexit.

Its finding comes after surveying 2,500 businesses across the UK just after the general election.

Mike Spicer, director of research and economics at the BCC, said: “Only 2.5% said crashing out of the EU and reverting to World Trade Organisation rules was desirable. They want to see a transition period of three years or more.

“It’s roughly the time that businesses tell us they need to make any changes to custom requirements, or their post Brexit standards regime and so on.” 

Key survey findings include:

  • 68% of Scottish and UK respondents believed that there should be a transition period of at least 3 years following the UK’s exit from the EU on 29 March 2019
  • 61% of Scottish respondents felt that the UK should remain in both the single market and the Customs Union, compared to 53% of respondents across the UK

    Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “
    Scottish businesses value our trading links with the European Union, as they do with our other major trading partners, and this survey shows that businesses are serious about maintaining a relationship with Europe that continues to enable them to trade as easily as possible, with no financial tariffs and an absolute minimum of regulatory barriers.

    “The EU may have fallen behind the rest of the world in terms of the value of Scotland’s exports but it remains a vital export destination, particularly as Scotland seeks to grow the number of businesses trading internationally.“This survey also clearly shows that Scottish businesses do not want to be facing a cliff edge in two years’ time when the UK will leave the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

    “The vast majority of business people who responded to this survey felt that a transitional period of at least three years would be appropriate in order to allow trade to continue as normal until a deal is struck to govern our future trading relationship with the EU.

    “If Scotland and the UK’s economic needs are to be satisfied, then business must be listened to during these crucial negotiations.”


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