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Election Death Knell of Brexit

10 Reasons why Brexit will not Happen – One year on

Election Result sounds the Death Knell for Brexit

In the past year the government’s Brexit plans have made no significant progress but have suffered two important and probably fatal defeats. The Supreme Court ruling on Article 50 and the election result

The government had intended to use prerogative powers to carry out the leaving process and thereby largely excluding parliament. This was overturned by the Supreme Court which ruled that parliament must make the decision to trigger Article 50 but more importantly it must also have a vote on the final terms of leaving. Instead of having a minimal say Parliament will now a major role in overseeing the negotiations.

May recognized the enhanced role for parliament but was also aware that Brexit lacked majority support among MP’s. She called the election to get a mandate for her Brexit proposals and not only did she fail to achieve this but she lost her parliamentary majority and seriously undermined the original mandate given by the referendum. The revenge of the remainers.

She now has no mandate for her Brexit policy and the parliamentary opposition to her proposals has been strengthened. The FT has even reported that a majority of the new Tory MPs elected were pro EU in the referendum.

The government has now set aside two years of parliamentary time to debate Brexit related legislation. The eight Bills will now be debated and voted on clause by clause by MPs a majority of whom are sceptical and do not believe that leaving the world’s largest market is in the best interests of the British people.

MP’s will also be aware of the significant political changes which have taken place in Europe and throughout the world in the past year

One event which could not have been foreseen at the time of the referendum was the election of Trump whose recent statements have undermined existing institutions and are creating uncertainty particularly in relation to NATO and international trade.

In trade terms Trump has emphasised his determination to put America First and to introduce policies to tax US investment abroad, protectionism, repatriate jobs to the US, and impose higher tariffs on imports. These policies if implemented will have a serious impact on global trade and are likely to develop into a trade war. In such a case we would have greater strength as a member of 500 million EU market.

The Brexiteer’s referendum prediction of economic and political instability in the EU has also been undermined by the elections in Austria Netherlands and France where the anti EU parties were routed. The first three months of 2017 showed strong economic growth throughout the EU and that the UK had weakest growth rate of any EU member. This will also put Brexit in a new context.

An examination of the original 10 Reasons why Brexit will Not Happen show that on most issues no progress has been made in fact on some Scotland, Northern Ireland and passporting the situation has worsened. http://www.northdownindependent.com/brexit-still-will-not-happen/

Legislation, which was included in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech transferring powers to Westminster is likely to require a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) from the Scottish Parliament and the other devolved administrations to proceed. SNP say they will not grant consent. Northern Ireland Executive is suspended and cannot do so and even when operating would require agreement between SF and DUP which would not be forthcoming.

In anticipation of the withdrawal of passporting rights many of the major financial institutions including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have already begun to move staff to other EU cities

In addition last week the ECB proposed taking over oversight of the euro clearing business which the London Stock Exchange warned could put 100,000 jobs across the UK at risk. The EBA will move to either Frankfurt or Paris and the process for removing the European Medicines Agency to Europe has already begun.

The UK government has now opened negotiations in an effort to resolve these and many other issues. We have finally moved on from “Brexit means Brexit”, “Red white and blue Brexit” but we are still far from clear what the government proposes. There is still much uncertainty on the government benches as to what Brexit actually means and at least 30 Conservative MPs have indicated to government whips that they will not accept leaving the EU without an agreed deal.

There will be many parliamentary battles fought over the next year or so. However since the Supreme Court the decisions will now be made in parliament and not dictated by prerogative powers. A large majority of MP’s will fight for membership of the single market  and this would appear to be incompatible with Brexit. In the end each MP will be required to vote in the best interests of the UK and this clearly will mean rejecting the economic disaster proposed by Brexit.

Brian Wilson – Former Green Party MLA and lecturer in European Business

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