Jack Simpson takes a look at the Brexit policies of the major parties ahead of this weeks election.
This has often been labelled the Brexit Election, but while electioneering has taken centre stage, the Brexit clock is ticking away in the background. With a new deadline set of January 31st, what are the grand Brexit plans? All manifestos linked in Party Header.
The Conservative Party want to bring back and pass the Withdrawal Agreement before Christmas, before agreeing a trade deal by the end of 2020. Suckers for deadlines, they say they will not extend transition beyond 2020, just like Brexit would not go beyond March or October 2019…
They claim they have an “oven ready” Brexit deal. This is because the deal was passed by Parliament in October, but the timeframe to implement it did not pass and resulted in this election. A Conservative majority would vote for the Agreement and implement before the new deadline of 2021.
It is unclear what the future trade deal with the EU would look like under Boris Johnson, but most likely to leave the Customs Union and Single Market to pursue new trade deals and opportunities independent of the EU, and have a buzzword name like First-Class FTA. The divergence and foreign market access of trade policy has been the root of concern over the NHS.
It’s taken a while, but the Labour party finally have a Brexit position. Their plan is to agree a new and better agreement with the EU, that protects worker and environmental rights, put it to a second confirmation referendum, and campaign neutrally on the issue.
If we vote to leave, Labour will seek to agree a permanent UK-wide customs union with close Single Market alignment and access. This will maintain trade relationships with European partners and remove the Irish Border issue.
The Liberal Democrats are unapologetically remain. Having previously campaigned for a People’s Vote, the party now says they will unilaterally revoke Article 50. This means that if the Liberal Democrats won a majority, they would legally stop Brexit.
The Liberal Democrats have indicated that they will support a Conservative or Labour Government in the event of no clear majority IF they guarantee a second vote on any Brexit deal, but don’t expect them to remain neutral on the campaign.
No surprises here, the Brexit Party back a “clean break Brexit”. While their manifesto, or ‘Contract with the People’, doesn’t outline what exactly this means, during negotiations it was used to describe a No Deal. It is also unclear if they want his immediately or on January 31st.
They believe only a “Real Brexit” will allow Britain to take back control of borders, laws, money and (of course) fishing. However, as the region is the most reliant on EU trade and a benefactor of EU money, it would be chaotic if a No Deal Brexit happened.
The Green Party favour a People’s Vote, in which they will support remain. Their platform is based on “Remain and Reform”, so they want to be in the EU but make it more transparent for citizens, place further power in the EU Parliament, improve environmental activity, and solely locate EU in Brussels (removing the Strasbourg office).
In the unlikely event they win a majority, but lose the referendum, they have not set out what a Green Brexit deal would look like, but it would likely resemble the Labour party deal, and would likely support them in a hung Parliament.
Regardless of the outcome, The Chamber will be sure to campaign on behalf of its members. The Chamber is opposed to a No Deal outcome that would wreck the North East economy, but is acutely aware the damage being caused by ongoing uncertainty. We call upon the incoming Government to work with, not in isolation of, the business community to find a Brexit deal that protects and supports trade with the regions top export market.
We will also continue to support members in their Brexit planning and preparing, and to update them as the process goes on. Current updates or guidance can be found here: https://www.neechamber.co.uk/preparing-for-brexit