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Sunday, October 02, 2016

Can May bring clarity to the Brexit vote?

The Sunday papers are full of speculation about what precisely Theresa May is going to announce at this week's Tory Conference.

Tory spin doctors say she will be unveiling a great reform bill putting all EU law onto our statute book. They do not say if this means all EU laws and regulations or whether ideologically inconvenient laws will be quietly forgotten about. Elsewhere there are demands that May use her speech to name the Brexit date.

There are still many divisions within the Conservatives however, as to how they will go about meeting the demands of the British people as expresed in June's referendum.

The Guardian reports that Anna Soubry, a former Business Minister, has voiced concerns about the responsibility for Brexit given to Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis, saying it was “really worrying these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands”:

In the run-up to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham this weekend, Anna Soubry reserved particular criticism for Fox, branding his speech on free trade in Manchester on Thursday “delusional”.

The former business minister, who sat in cabinet until July, said Theresa May was a voice of sanity following the referendum, but that the prime minister needed to explain even in “broad terms” what she wanted out of Brexit, as three months later we are “no further forward, and it’s her job to lead us”.

“Liam Fox’s speech this week was very worrying; in fact, it was delusional,” she told the Guardian. “How can we have ‘freer’ free trade? Let’s get real, for God’s sake. It’s really worrying that these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands. May is the voice of sanity, and without her I don’t know where the three Brexiteers would take us.”

The paper says that Fox’s grasp of trade law also came under attack from Sir David Edward, a former judge in the European court of justice who is advising the Scottish government on Brexit:

Edward challenged Fox’s claim that the UK would keep the EU’s existing tariff schedule when it leaves the bloc.

“Nobody who understands trade law could have possibly have said what he said,” he told an MLex Competition conference.

“And as an economist has said, there is no such thing in today’s world as free trade or a free trade agreement, there is only managed trade or participation in a regulated market, and that is quite important. The notion that we can get back to some kind of Victorian liberal notion of totally free trade I think is totally misleading.”

May might have set a trap for the three Brexiteers by handing them key jobs but is the UK economy who will pay for their failings.
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