Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has urged for unity after Britain’s referendum in June had opened up deep political divides in the country. “If 2016 was the year you voted for that change, this is the year we start to make it happen.” said Mrs May.
She has stated that she will press ahead with the process of triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which will begin the process of Britain leaving the trading bloc. It will also signal the start of many complicated negotiations with other European nations. There has been talk of extending the two year period for negotiations of new trade deals. Britain’s economy is deeply involved with the EU, and the sheer scale of change means that two years is unlikely to be enough to institute the changes.
Though she has stuck to her guns on “Brexit” the level of exit is still very much up for discussion, as is Scotland’s role with the EU. Scotland clearly voted to stay, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her intention that Scotland’s voice is heard. Though there is no confirmation of a second independence referendum for Scotland, it is certainly in the thinking of the First Minister. With the changed landscape the result of a referendum is far less unpredictable.
Mrs May has tried to play to the “remainers” by suggesting that she is negotiating on behalf of everyone, not just those who voted to leave. As the vote was relatively close, many feel that a “Hard Brexit” would not be justified, and certainly isn’t the best deal for British business. Though any softening of the negotiating stance is likely to cost heavily. Remaining in the single market is likely to cost significant amounts of money, and potentially the politically toxic possibility of the continuation of free movement with the EU.
All of this remains to be seen if Theresa May can strike the balance between the opposing forces in the debate. The continuation of free movement is going to be a major issue, and one that she will desperately try and take off of the table. Whether she’s actually able to do that remains unlikely, as other European leaders are likely to require the concession to keep them in line with other nations in the extended area. The likelihood of getting a better deal than other countries not currently in the union is highly unlikely, especially in the face of the way Britain has conducted itself up to now. It will certainly be a testing time for the Prime Minster, and a significant test of her negotiating skills.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.