Why Theresa May Wants No-Deal Brexit on the Table

Image of Brexit statements from Leave campaigners

Is May Serious About No-Deal Brexit?

No-deal is the default outcome of Brexit negotiations if the government fails to get a deal through Parliament. This is the direct result of Parliament voting for Article 50 to be triggered before they had even discussed a plan for leaving the EU. This is the consequence of short-term thinking of MPs as they failed to consider how complex and difficult negotiations would be to untangle the UK from 40 years of increasing integration with the EU. All that most MPs considered was how quickly should Article 50 be triggered.

No Forward Planning:

This is a consistent theme of Brexit which began with the initial decision to have a referendum. MP’s failed to learn from previous narrow referendum results (e.g. 1997 Welsh Assembly referendum) and no super-majority was put in place to safeguard the UK from making such a huge constitutional change on the basis of a small majority. Attempts to set such a safeguard were dismissed by the government as unnecessary because the referendum was advisory.

Given that most MP’s did not expect Leave to win the referendum this was perceived as a price worth paying to shut up Euro-sceptics for good. Similarly there was acceptance that EU citizens would not be allowed to vote and UK citizens who had been living in another EU country for over 15 years were also excluded. These choices were all made to ease the process of having a referendum rather than considering the potential influence on the outcome of the vote.

These were poor decisions by MP’s because a majority did not consider the worst case scenario (a Leave win) before agreeing to run a referendum on such a basis. This was then compounded by David Cameron’s decision to frame the referendum result as one that had to be implemented by Parliament however close the result was. This was a catastrophic decision and was probably made to scare the public into voting Remain. This back-fired as we know.

Why Now?

Parliament now wants to take no-deal of the table, but this is being opposed by Theresa May and hard-line Brexiteers. May claims that she needs no-deal to threaten the EU in negotiations, but in reality she has systematically talked up the possibility of no-deal in the hope that MPs and the public would be relieved when she finally had an agreement with the EU. This strategy failed miserably when she put the withdrawal agreement before Parliament and the government lost by 230 votes.

May knows no-deal would be highly damaging to the UK’s economy and reputation. The EU also wants to avoid a no-deal, but they can only work within the red lines that our government sets and they are unlikely to want to threaten the integrity of the single market to satisfy the internal conflict within the Tory Party.

Corbyn puts the blame on May:

Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that May takes no-deal off the table was done with full knowledge that she can’t offer to do that because it risks splitting the Conservative Party. All through the Brexit process May has been more concerned about the ERG hard-line Brexiteers than any other faction in her party. By not taking no-deal off the table May is simply continuing to delay making inevitable choices which has been her strategy all through the process.

No-deal is a political deception:

May knows she can’t deliver the Brexit promised and that no British prime minister would ever be forgiven for consciously allowing shortages of life-saving medicines and food to happen as a result of a government policy. No-deal is a pure political deception. May hopes that if she delays longer enough people will accept her deal through desperation and fear of the unknown. This explains why May delayed the meaningful vote by over a month and why she has now put off the vote on May’s ‘plan B’ on 29th January 2019.

After over two and half years of deliberate delays by May it is now time that Parliament takes back control of the Brexit process and forces the government to make some real choices. Given that there is no clear majority for any type of Brexit and all analysis suggests that any form of Brexit will be damaging to the country, it is about time MPs were honest with the public and gave them the final say on what, if any, Brexit they want.

About the author:  Neal Cole is a digital marketer who has worked in a number of European cities including Paris and London, and also in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.   He is the founder of Conversion Uplift Ltd which provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as  Deezer.com,  Foxybingo.com,    Very.co.uk,    partypoker.com  and Bgo.com.

About Wrexham for Europe:

Wrexham for Europe are a pro-European group campaigning for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. You can follow them on Twitter @wrexhamforeu or join their Facebook group Wrexham for Europe. Please email us at wrexham@walesforeurope.org.

Image of Wrexham for Europe in Llangollen on 12th January 2019
Wrexham for Europe