In June George Bridges quit as Brexit minister amid reports he had fallen out with Downing Street over strategy. He has spoken for the first time about how he thinks the government should proceed (read in full on Reaction). Many of his suggestions are being welcomed by Tory Brexiteers:
- Transition to the end of 2020. Shorter than the multiple year transition desired by ex-Remainers.
- Must be time-limited as an endless transition “would be a gangplank into thin air, increasing uncertainty and fuelling suspicion that it would be a means to stay in the EU permanently by stealth”. Indeed.
- Keep the existing arrangements we have with the EU during the transition, as far as possible.
- Continue to contribute to the EU financially during the transition. Surely inevitable.
Theresa May is to give a major speech on or around September 21. The aim is to “reset” the Brexit negotiations and end the impasse – those involved talk of achieving this by offering more clarity, compromise and a conciliatory tone towards Brussels. She will likely talk up how there is almost a deal on citizens’ rights and significant convergence on Ireland. The question is how far May will go in saying what she wants from a transition and if she will commit to contributing financially to the EU during this period. The ball would then be in the EU’s court to show why we should pay more than this. The Bridges proposals are interesting, as he says Number 10 should “make a bolder move and break the impasse”…