Seven things we’ve learned about Brexit
It’s been another tumultuous week as Britain works out its exit from the EU.
A week of talks in Brussels and Westminster culminated in a row between the UK and EU and a warning that Theresa May’s hopes of a transition deal could not be taken for granted.
Here are some things we learned:
– There are still “substantial” disagreements over plans for the transition, expected to last around two years after the date of withdrawal in March 2019. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said if the stumbling blocks remain “the transition is not a given”.
– The Prime Minister has “no doubts” about her strategy. She told assembled dignitaries at a Tory black-tie gala her plan would mean “taking back control” of money, laws and the UK’s borders.
– Two meetings of the Government’s Brexit ‘war cabinet’ achieved some progress – but differences remain. The Prime Minister told her ministers that her “starting point” was to “aim for something that hadn’t been done before in order to come to a new relationship that will last a generation or more”.
– Further details of the UK Government’s economic forecasts leaked, showing which parts of the country would be hardest hit under various Brexit scenarios. But officials said they did not show the impact of the Government’s preferred post-Brexit option of an “unprecedented” economic partnership with the EU.
– The Government has been accused of treating Scottish and Welsh politicians with “contempt” over arrangements for viewing confidential Brexit documents aimed at preventing further leaks. MSPs have been told they can make an appointment to see the documents between 10am and 5pm on Thursday and Friday, with no slots available from 1pm to 2pm, and a UK Government official will be in the room at all times.
– Japanese car giants and banking firms could leave Britain if post-Brexit trading conditions are bad, the country’s ambassador to the UK warned. Larry the Downing Street cat did not help relations, running away as one member of the Japanese delegation tried to stroke him.
– Ireland’s deputy premier Simon Coveney called for Mrs May and the UK to erase “previous red lines and tough talking points” in order to resolve the problems around the Northern Irish border.