Saturday 23 June 2018

Conservative civil warriors cannot beat Brexit clock

The UK government must either agree to the EU's preconditions or face catastrophic no-deal, says Colm McCarthy

Calender countdown: Pressure is mounting further on Theresa May as the Brexit deadline looms ever closer. Photo: PA
Calender countdown: Pressure is mounting further on Theresa May as the Brexit deadline looms ever closer. Photo: PA
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

Britain's negotiations on withdrawal from the European Union are taking place not in Brussels but inside the Tory party in London. These talks need to conclude fairly quickly or there will be a catastrophic no-deal exit a year from now.

It is the UK, not the EU, which sought a transition deal designed to avoid a cliff edge on March 29 next year, a date set in stone by the premature despatch of Mrs May's Article 50 resignation latter. There is no prospect of agreeing any long-term deal on trade access by that time and the transition deal offered by the EU is essentially take-it-or-leave-it.

The UK must either accede to the EU's preconditions or face a no-deal Brexit. There is no treaty-based entitlement for a resigning EU member to any transition period at all.

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