Because the UK Government never planned to leave the EU. The current government has published no plans on it’s ‘No Deal’ Brexit option. And there’s no time to implement the Government’s preferred Brexit version. The UK is going to have a Brexit in name only.
“Gross negligence” and “dereliction of duty” – these are words of elected British politicians used to describe the current and previous government’s approach to leaving the EU – a process now known as Brexit.
David Cameron’s government failed to plan or prepare for Brexit. Yet, Mr Cameron proceeded to hold a referendum with this possible outcome. His referendum produced a result that few expected and nobody prepared for. He was so confident of a Remain victory that he declared that this advisory referendum would be definitively acted upon, whatever the result. In not challenging this assertion, Parliament colluded in his acting beyond his authority.
In the event, given the outcome, he responded by resigning, leaving an unknown successor to deal with his irresponsible actions. Here’s what the foreign affairs parliamentary committee said of Mr Cameron’s government.
“The previous [David Cameron] Government’s considered view not to instruct key Departments including the FCO to plan for the possibility that the electorate would vote to leave the EU amounted to gross negligence. It has exacerbated post-referendum uncertainty both within the UK and amongst key international partners, and made the task now facing the new Government substantially more difficult.” Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee, 20 July 2016
Mr Cameron’s successor, Theresa May, then proceeded to compound this reckless approach. In January 2017, she announced that it was government policy to walk out on talks, if the deal on offer was “bad” – her prime ministerial ‘No Deal’ Brexit. As with Mr Cameron, Mrs May’s own irresponsible action and talk, again attracted the attention of her colleagues in the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee.
“But there is a real prospect that negotiations will fail. The Government should therefore require each Department to produce a ‘no deal’ plan identifying the likely consequences and making proposals, including guidance to individuals and businesses, to mitigate potential risks. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty.”
Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee, 12 March 2017
The current and previous governments’ failures to plan or prepare to leave the EU will mean a Brexit in name only. Lacking negotiation prowess, strategy, counter proposals or ministerial cohesion, the UK government is now a spectator in a Brexit of its own creation.
There is no time for the UK government to implement it’s preferred version of Brexit, based on it’s self imposed red lines. Taking the UK out of the single market and custom union might please right wing parliamentarians and delight the manufactured outrage of the tabloids, but it is not going to be implemented by the internationally agreed deadline of 31 December 2020.
The consequences of the Conservative party tomfoolery is to voluntarily take the UK out of the EU decision making and institutions. Yet it will still require the UK to implement all aspects of EU regulation and trade policy. Meanwhile, the EU retains full, ongoing and complete access to UK markets.
Given that the UK is going to be an international rule taker in newly diminished political circumstances, the UK should stay in the EU instead.