Brexit was a mistake, Theresa May's trying to fix it
When it comes to Brexit Prime Minister Theresa May has two options: do a hard Brexit that would economically hurt the UK or attempt to do a soft Brexit while framing it as a hard Brexit, she seems to have chosen the latter. A decision that has angered many Conservative Party official and has led to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's resignation.
May's cabinet recently agreed on a new Brexit plan which includes the following stipulations:
- Ending the free movement of people from the European continent to the UK
- Establishing a joint institutional framework to interpret UK-EU agreements,
- Treating the borders of the UK and EU as a combined customs territory
Many Conservative Party UK officials have criticized the plan. Conservative Party MP Andrew Bridgen called May's plan "a pretence and charade intended to dupe the electorate." Another Conservative Party MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said that "a very soft Brexit means that we haven't left." The Conservative Party's former leader, Duncan Smith said "if the public perceive Mrs May's plan as 'continued membership' of the customs union and single market for goods, the government 'will suffer the consequences at the next election.'"
Critics are right in explaining May's plan as a "soft Brexit," but if May really wants to preserve the UK economy then she should do a soft Brexit. Many analysts have pointed out that leaving the EU is an economically bad decision for the UK (slowing UK economic growth and increasing costs of UK imports and exports), so May can try to stave off these negatives by doing a soft Brexit. However, politically a soft Brexit is dangerous because as mentioned by Smith, if the electorate perceives the Brexit as being soft then the Conservative Party will certainly lose votes. So, what should May do? Her best option is to do a soft Brexit while politically spinning it as a harder Brexit than it actually is. This would help the UK's economy, but to do this May must gain control of her party. However, May gaining control of the Conservative Party does not seem likely to happen.
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