BREXIT: Current state of play

Guest commentary from our colleagues at Pagefield in London, first published on
The political landscape in Britain is very divided at the moment, as evidenced by the spate of recent defections from both major parties – The Conservative Party and the Labour Party – to a new “Independent Group” within Parliament. The key area of concern for MPs is the Irish backstop – technically a safety net to ensure that there is no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, whatever the outcome of future trade talks between the UK and the EU. It is a common observation that Brexit has divided the Government and the Conservative Party but it is becoming clear that this divide is just as severe within the Labour Party as well.
The feeling in London, and the business community at large, is primarily one of fatigue. But in Westminster, there is a sense that we are in the calm before the storm. It appears that every possible Brexit scenario will be met with strong political opposition but there will have to be a reckoning at some point…compromise is inevitable.
That said, the longer term impact of Brexit on the main political parties is exaggerated. The Tories have always been divided on Europe and, while the recent in-fighting may have reached new levels, the party has been around for nearly 200 years it will survive beyond Brexit. Similarly, divisions within the Labour Party are more of a proxy for tensions over Corbyn’s leadership than anything else.

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