Rae Hoff
Sep 4 · Last update 15 days ago.
Why are both sides unhappy with May's 'Soft Brexit'?
It seems neither the people who wanted Brexit are happy, nor the people that didn't? Why, when a compromise is trying to be made?
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May dug a hole and keeps digging
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May’s Brexit plan has repeatedly lost the approval of the EU and the support of her party
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May is attempting to minimise the economic damage Brexit poses surrounded by a power hungry cabinet
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May is stuck between two diametric ideologies and EU bureaucrats
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May dug a hole and keeps digging

As British parliament remains deadlocked, planning starts on preparing for worst case scenarios and a no deal Brexit seem more like an impend reality, it is clear that Theresa Mays plans have been unrealistic from the start. She, like the lying Brexiteers before her, has deceived the public over the planning and the reality of Brexit on several occasions, specifically regarding the funding of the UK National Health Service, and has therefore failed to gain support for her plan and undermined the negotiations. Furthermore her failure and attempted backpedalling over the Irish Backstop and the complication this has posed for the EU and for her own government, being a coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, are what have ground Brexit negotiations to a halt, leaving all sides unhappy with this disaster.

May is now adamantly rejecting any possibility of considering opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s customs proposals despite still failing to reach a workable plan. Corbyn has put forward a plan to remain in the EU customs union to retain access to the single market and suffer no reduction to trade, rights or protections. While this has been criticised as Corbyn asking for too much or “having his cake and eating it” by critics and some of the press, EU president Donald Tusk has called Corbyn’s proposals “promising”, indicating greater cross-parliament cooperation may be a solution to Brexit’s catastrophic stalemate.

bbc.com/news/world-europe-47036591 cbsnews.com/news/brexit-businesses-britain-food-shortages-price-hikes-no-deal-european-union bbc.com/news/business-47096621 theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/01/revealed-plan-to-deal-with-putrefying-stockpiles-of-rubbish-after-no-deal-brexit youtube.com/watch?v=RBGSxqLCCO8

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Daniel Halliday
Feb 12
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47036591 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brexit-businesses-britain-food-shortages-price-hikes-no-deal-european-union/ https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47096621 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/01/revealed-plan-to-deal-with-putrefying-stockpiles-of-rubbish-after-no-deal-brexit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBGSxqLCCO8
May’s Brexit plan has repeatedly lost the approval of the EU and the support of her party

Theresa May’s many proposed Brexit deals have been too soft on the EU and are threatening to effectively exchange UK decision making for a good trade relationship with Europe. May started off with a proposal that did not resolve many issues in the cutting of ties with the EU, but over time it has become clear that her plans have failed to offer a good enough solution to the question of the Northern Irish border. This particular issue has become increasingly urgent with a looming deadline and a recent car bombing in Derry, a city on the Northern Irish border. Considering UK sovereignty was a major reason for the Brexit vote this has left many in the UK very nervous about May’s plan, as it not only threatens to undermine one of the main reasons for leaving the EU, but now possibly threatens important peace deals such as the Good Friday agreement.

This misinterpretation of the vote coupled with major gaps in key issues has left little time to achieve a realistic deal that is agreed on by both sides. With the EU negotiators maintaining a non negotiable position on the EU Single Market, the EU rejected the UK’s proposals multiple times, and the EU and countries such as France continued to demand more concessions from May. However, even despite the EU's surprise turn around in agreeing to May's plan in November 2018, the unanswered question of the Northern Irish border makes the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit increasingly likely as the deadline draws closer.

Worry over Brexit has taken the form of protest resignations from some of May’s Conservative party members, David Davis, Steve Baker, Boris Johnson and recently Dominic Raab all leaving to express this disapproval. The lack of faith in May’s plan has also resulted in a push to remove May as prime minister, with Jacob Rees-Mogg filing a letter to try and trigger a vote of no confidence in November 2018. Similar action was taken by Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn in January 2019 despite a narrow vote to keep May as Prime Minister.

However the issue of May’s plan for a Northern Irish ‘backstop’, that is the temporary solution to the issue of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, as a peaceful solution until a better agreement is reached, is the real sticking point at this late stage of negotiations. In December 2017 the UK and EU agreed on the ‘backstop’ deal or backup plan concerning the Northern Irish border, with the EU favouring Northern Ireland staying in the EU customs union, the single market and maintaining EU VAT laws until a better deal is reached at some point in the future. But this plan would see Northern Ireland remaining closer to the EU than the UK with the maintaining of a soft border between Northern Ireland and the European Union.

May’s plan proposes the whole of the UK will temporarily align closely with the EU’s customs union, single market and VAT laws to prevent the distancing of Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, effectively pushing the problem further down the line. The EU, Republic of Ireland and many Brexiteers are not fond of this as it is indefinite and doesn’t really solve the problem of the hard border between the EU and the UK, a hard boarder that is necessary if the UK is allowed to go their own way economically. The reason this is so unpopular then is that on one hand May’s plan doesn’t solve the border issue and on the other hand she is making a move that might damage UK sovereignty, while reigniting tensions, and this is not a compromise that suits either side of the original debate.

express.co.uk/news/politics/1046685/brexit-news-eu-france-brexit-deal-concessions-draft-withdrawal-agreement-latest rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2018/0301/944407-the-strange-case-of-brexit-and-british-sovereignty washingtonpost.com/world/europe/immigration-worries-drove-the-brexit-vote-then-attitudes-changed/2018/11/16/c216b6a2-bcdb-11e8-8243-f3ae9c99658a_story.html?utm_term=.00b7bfb02ce8

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 30
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1046685/brexit-news-eu-france-brexit-deal-concessions-draft-withdrawal-agreement-latest https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2018/0301/944407-the-strange-case-of-brexit-and-british-sovereignty/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/immigration-worries-drove-the-brexit-vote-then-attitudes-changed/2018/11/16/c216b6a2-bcdb-11e8-8243-f3ae9c99658a_story.html?utm_term=.00b7bfb02ce8
May is attempting to minimise the economic damage Brexit poses surrounded by a power hungry cabinet

After the referendum the majority of the UK parliament were ardent anti-Brexit advocates, and the remaining pro-Brexit politicians either belonged to fringe parties or later aligned themselves against May’s Brexit plan. Many in May's own cabinet resigned seemingly as a move to better their own position in case of party failure. What followed was a barrage of negativity towards May, without any politician actually proposing any alternative, culminating in an attempted vote of no confidence from Jacob Rees-Mogg in November and by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in January. As a result it seems no one is happy with May’s Brexit deal, not a surprise considering May’s anti-Brexit stance before assuming the position of prime minister, however no one seems able to propose an alternative that can unite parliament.

The most vocal opponent to May’s so-called Chequers Brexit plan was initially Boris Johnson. Following the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2016, Boris Johnson announced he would run for prime minister with fellow pro-Brexit campaigner Michael Gove as his campaign manager. Gove spectacularly withdrew his support for Johnson on the day of the deadline and announced his leadership aspirations, but lost the vote to Theresa May in July 2016.

Boris Johnson was then appointed as Foreign Secretary to aid May in drafting a workable Brexit deal. Johnson is often described as a self serving opportunist, and despite being one of its most outspoken proponents, he resigned before a Brexit deal could be agreed upon. A path followed by many other Tory ministers; however it was his resignation at this time running up to the deadline that dealt quite the blow to May’s image.

Having been refused the opportunity to step up to try to lead the country after the EU referendum, arguably Johnson is hoping for May to fail at this monumental task before attempting to pursue a position as prime minister once again. Being then able to deny accountability if Brexit goes horribly wrong, he will effectively have the cover of a previous Brexit failure to make his possible prime ministership seem slightly less disastrous than the last.

This could be said similarly of opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party seem to be unable to propose a viable alternative or to assure parliament that there is a better alternative to May leading Brexit negotiations at this point. For the sake of the economy, and considering the support for a second referendum both from Parliament and the general public, Theresa May should have been doing what she could to stay in the EU rather than creating such an unpopular deal to exit. But enviably May has avoided several votes of no confidence and is the UK's only option at this late stage, Parliament need to back her plan and stop the infighting and political manoeuvring to minimise the monumental risk of damage posed to the UK by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

express.co.uk/news/politics/1046164/Vote-of-no-confidence-Theresa-May-resignation-no-confidence-letters-how-many-letters gq-magazine.co.uk/article/vote-of-no-confidence-1922-committee

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
Boris Johnson was then appointed as Foreign Secretary to aid May in drafting a workable Brexit deal. Johnson is often described as a self serving opportunist, and despite being one of its most outspoken proponents, he resigned before a Brexit deal could be agreed upon. A path followed by many other Tory ministers; however it was his resignation at this time running up to the deadline that dealt quite the blow to May’s image.
May is stuck between two diametric ideologies and EU bureaucrats

The pro-Brexit camp fear that May is not making a clean enough break from the EU while anti-Brexit politicians from many parties have accused her of having proposed too sharp a removal from the EU. Meanwhile in Brussels, EU officials have increased opposition to May’s plans, making the process more difficult.

May’s plan calls for continuing free trade on manufactured and agriculture goods, while Britain will accept all EU regulations on other traded goods. However, EU officials fear that showing leniency with the UK will cause third party states to demand equal leniency and it would spell economic disaster for the EU, putting them in a very difficult position. This stance has become increasingly firm due to the recent budget complications and the rise of populist Euro-scepticism in political parties in Italy, such as the Five Star Movement and Lega Nord. However May eventually managed to get the EU to agree to her deal late in 2018, reducing the number of sides in her complex balancing act.

As Theresa May attempts to minimise the impact of Brexit on the UK's economy by maintaining good relations with the EU, she is also trying to remain firm but fair on issues such as immigration to try and appeal to both sides of the debate. This has still been criticised and caused the dropping of planned visa fees for EU citizens already in the UK that will have to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK in May's most recent 'plan B'.

As well as visa arrangements for EU and UK citizens, the Northern Irish border has been a big issue of contention with the 'backstop' plan agreed upon by UK Government and the EU being criticised heavily by UK parliament. While trying to avoid going back to a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, many are worried about the backstop dividing the union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. This conflict caused many members of May's cabinet to resign, and has been one of the major issues that has seen the deal by voted down by parliament, with many fearing that Northern Ireland will be tied to EU standards for an indefinite amount of time, and may lead to the same for the UK.

This position of trying to appease all sides has ultimately seen May receive heavy criticism from all sides. But as time ticks away until the Brexit deadline of March 2019, May’s Chequers proposal is treading the thin line between both sides of the argument, and all sides are becoming increasingly worried about her ability to broker a good enough deal in time. However, following failed votes of no confidence in the Prime Minister and calls to delay the deadline by various means it seems clear that although MP's are not happy with May plan, no one has a workable solution to take its place.

express.co.uk/news/politics/1046685/brexit-news-eu-france-brexit-deal-concessions-draft-withdrawal-agreement-latest bbc.com/news/uk-46334649

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 25
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DH edited this paragraph
This position of trying to appease all sides has ultimately seen May receive heavy criticism from all sides. But as time ticks away until the Brexit deadline of March 2019, May’s Chequers proposal is treading the thin line between both sides of the argument, and all sides are becoming increasingly worried about her ability to broker a good enough deal in time. However, following failed votes of no confidence in the Prime Minister and calls to delay the deadline by various means it seems clear that although MP's are not happy with May plan, no one has a workable solution to take its place.
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