Was the United Kingdom election a rejection of Brexit?

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 19, 2017

UK Brexit Minister David Davis says that Britain will definitely leave the European Union amid turmoil in the country following the general election.

Davis is to meet Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, to kick off hugely complex withdrawal negotiations that are expected to conclude within two years.

With Prime Minister Theresa May still working to shore up a deal with a small Northern Irish party to prop up her Conservative government after she lost her parliamentary majority in the June 8 election, Hammond's comments could be a sign that London is easing back its approach to Brexit.

Prompted by her poor election showing, particularly among pro-EU young people who fear losses of jobs and opportunities from Brexit, some of her most senior ministers and two former Conservative prime ministers have called for a rethink.

That is ultimately a matter for Mrs May, who must first give herself some breathing space in the House of Commons by coming to an understanding with the ten-strong group of DUP MPs.

Before the election, May proposed a clean break from the European Union: leaving its single market, which enshrines free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and proposing limits on immigration and a bespoke customs deal with the EU.

The UK needs a seamless Brexit transition to support jobs and investment by ensuring a new customs arrangement with the European Union that avoids bureaucratic delays to trade, he said.

However, the speech was cancelled following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in West London.

"We should be protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity", he said in Luxembourg last week.

"If we're going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge", he said.

- June 21 - The Queen's Speech sets out details of extensive UK Government legislation required to put Brexit into effect, expected to include a Great Repeal Bill bringing European Union laws and regulations onto the British statute book, as well as bills on issues including immigration and customs.

Mr Davis and his team will hold meetings with their opposite numbers at the European Commission which is leading negotiations on behalf of the European Union member states.

Ever since the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 in March, triggering its formal intention to leave the EU, the European side has said it was ready to begin negotiations.

However, Europe says that an agreement on issues such as the rights of citizens, the divorce bill and border controls must come before considering any post-Brexit settlement. Agreeing to pay a "Brexit bill" may be more inflammatory.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will call for "a deal like no other in history" as he heads into talks with the EU.

Mr Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that having no deal would be "a very, very bad outcome for Britain" but added that one that aimed to "suck the lifeblood out of our economy over a period of time" would be even worse.

International Trade Minister Liam Fox will travel to Washington on Monday to explore new trade ties - although no formal negotiations are possible until Britain has actually left the bloc.

Aware that this is a priority for the EU, May is reportedly set to make a "generous offer" on the issue early in the talks.

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