Gove Sets Standard For May

Theresa May has the chance to squash the specious narrative that she has no Brexit plan with her big speech on Tuesday. In today’s Times Michael Gove sets the standard she must meet to satisfy Leavers: she should say for the first time that Britain will leave the EU “completely“, in a process taking “months not years”, and that this means leaving the single market and customs union. For those paying attention the government’s plan is discernible. Free movement will end, therefore single market membership will end and we will seek a deal on ‘access’. David Davis has outlined different options on leaving the customs union. If no reasonable settlement is forthcoming we walk away. It is simpler and more straightforward than the fashionable confusion/denial of Remain pundits. 

The Gove standard requires the process to take “months not years”. May and Philip Hammond have signalled that there will be some sort of transitional arrangement before we fully leave. May has said: “There will of course be a necessity for adjustment to those new arrangements”. Now, Remainers see this as their golden chance. If the transition takes years, during which Britain remains in the single market, essentially in the EU, perhaps with an ’emergency brake’ on immigration, Remainers can buy time to argue for a second referendum or try to prevent a real Brexit. Gove makes clear Leave MPs will not abide such a delay. Michel Barnier’s timetable requires ratification by March 2019, leaving 14 months before the 2020 election. Leave voters will be unforgiving if we are still in the EU when they go to the polls. The standard is set: May’s Tuesday speech needs to commit to a real Brexit outside the single market and customs union and a process of departure taking months not years…




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