English newspapers mixed reaction to May’s latest Brexit speech
What the papers are saying about Theresa May’s latest Brexit speech:
Reaction to Theresa May’s landmark Brexit Speech:
It is a bad deal for Britain. Bad because, in overall terms, the proposed settlement is neither one thing nor the other. Britain will not have its cake and eat it, in Boris Johnson’s preposterous parlance. It will simply have less cake.
We were informed, as if we’d not worked it out already, that leaving the single market and the customs union will mean less easy access to markets. There was none of David Davis’s breezy promises of the “same access” as we enjoy now. There were no Boris-style sub-Churchillian rallying cries. It’s almost as if the grind of the EU negotiations since she became Prime Minister, and indeed her political misfortunes since then, have eroded whatever delusions she may have adopted about her future and that of the country she leads.
In highlighting what the UK would like from Euratom; the European Medicines Agency (as it vacates London); the European banking regulators; in broadcasting; on fisheries; and in aviation, among others, she at least broached subjects any one of which would take a year of determined political and bureaucratic effort to renegotiate and settle. As it is we have only that time to do all of them and much more. That is one reality that has not been properly faced up to – that we have probably run out of time already.
The Government has at last made a start on defining what Brexit means. But before it’s even begun to take soundings on its plan, our negotiations are in deep trouble. Unless it can engineer a miraculous turnaround in EU thinking, it is going to have to betray someone – the unionists, the Brexiteers or all the people who live and work across Northern Ireland’s troubled border. It must not find itself making this difficult choice on the fly in order to get out of a bind at the end of a long week. In other words, business as usual won’t cut it.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will set out plans for financial services next week, but Mrs May said ‘we are not looking for passporting’.
But because UK banks underwrite around half the debt and equity issued by EU companies and provided more than £1.1 trillion of lending in 2015, it was a ‘clear example of where only looking at precedent would hurt both the UK and EU economies’.
Crucially, the UK would seek “associate” membership of the agencies that regulate key sectors like medicine, chemicals, aviation and the nuclear industry. Such a model does not as yet exist, but given Mrs May’s commitment to an “appropriate” financial contribution in return for such membership, there are surely grounds for hoping EU negotiators will be prepared to discuss it.
Retaining membership of these agencies has been a key demand of industries like pharmaceuticals and aviation. It would be a big win for economically significant UK business sectors.
But what business will find unacceptable is the continued lack of any real clarity about the deal the UK wants — whether or not this is achievable. Despite saying that, “unlike some politicians” Mrs May was “actually being straight with people”, she continued to indulge in the verbal contortions that obscure post-Brexit reality. UK law after Brexit, she said, may not be identical to the EU’s but “should achieve the same outcomes”. We want “broad energy co-operation” and, in broadcasting, to “explore creative options”.