By Cecilia Wang
Six months after the vote to leave the European Union, the Prime Minister at last delivered her Brexit plan with twelve negotiating objectives on Tuesday, January 17th. In a carefully-crafted speech, Mrs. May sought to reassure the world with a message against the long-feared “cliff edge for business or… threat to stability”, rejecting an indefinite, long-term transitional deal.
The Prime Minister confirmed speculations of Britain leaving the single market, and declared plans for an end to Britain paying vast contributions to the EU budget. However, Britain’s position on the customs union stays up in the air. She made it a top priority to guarantee the status of EU citizens in Britain and vice versa, sending a unifying message.
Mrs. May reiterated the importance of regaining control on immigration and from the jurisdiction of the European Court and justices. She affirmed both Houses of Parliament would vote on the final deal. The Supreme Court is yet to announce whether a parliamentary vote needs to take place on whether to trigger Article 50 following the government’s appeal against the High Court’s verdict.
Writing in The Times, Mrs. May said the Scottish government should be “fully engaged in the process” and repeated her opposition to Scottish independence. The Scottish government seeks a ‘differentiated approach’ for Scotland, with access to the single market, a move hardly surprising given its 62% to 38% vote in favour of remain.
SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon said she was “determined to save Scotland from Brexit” and accused the Conservatives of putting its “obsession with immigration” ahead of the interests of the economy. Lord Kerr, author of Article 50, said the Scottish demand would be “difficult” and potentially legally infeasible.
56% of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain. The political parties are sharply divided. DUP leader Arlene Foster said Brexit would happen, whilst Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness asserted he has “no faith” that MPs will respect Northern Ireland’s referendum result.The collapse of power-sharing in Northern Ireland risks delaying the triggering of Article 50 by months, as approval from Stormont is legally required.
Image by Matti Matila via flickr.