11 February 2019
Alasdair Smith is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and is a member of the UK Trade Policy Observatory
Parliamentary discussions on Brexit seem to be making no progress towards a decision that can command a majority and the timetable for future Parliamentary votes is uncertain. The only result of last week’s discussion in Brussels was an agreement to hold further talks later this month, a jaw-droppingly relaxed timetable in the circumstances.
The Labour Party leadership has produced a statement with two objectives both of which are probably unattainable: a customs union with the EU in which the UK has a significant voice in the setting of EU trade policy, and a close relationship with the single market that falls short of membership. The Conservative Party is having internal discussions (with civil service support, a constitutional innovation) about the Malthouse Compromise, whose oxymoronic objectives are a new backstop that is not a backstop or an agreed withdrawal without a withdrawal agreement.
Out of this unpromising material, however, some outcome must emerge before March 29. (more…)
Charlotte Humma February 11th, 2019
Posted In: UK- EU