“Brexit means Brexit”. Yet two months on from the referendum and Theresa May’s government has still not revealed its intentions or its strategy for exiting the European Union.
Clear as mud
At the G20 summit Theresa May only managed to reiterate her commitment to June’s referendum result and contradict foreign minister Boris Johnson whilst trying to clarify immigration policy. She said: “What the British people voted for on the 23rd of June was to bring some control into the movement of people from the EU into the UK. A points-based system, does not give you that control.”
David Davis, the Secretary of State for Brexit, failed to shed any more light on the subject at the House of Commons on Tuesday. He said rather obscurely : “It means getting the best deal for Britain, one that is unique for Britain and not an “off the shelf” solution. This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe, but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services. “
Davis’ counterpart in the opposition, Emily Thornberry, criticised contradictions in the government’s assertions and accused them of being vague; stating only what Brexit does not mean. Thornberry asked for clarification saying: “But what we haven’t been told is what they are going to do. When are they going to tell us how they are going to deliver for example free trade for British businesses whilst also imposing immigration controls?”
The only thing which seems certain is that the days of free movement of EU migrant workers to the UK will soon end. The effect on the UK economy is already being felt in the 1.2 billion pound soft fruit industry:
Laurence Olins, Chairman of British Summer Fruits Industry Association, revealed the extent of the problem, explaining: “I know growers who stopped expanding because they can’t put an order in for their trees or plants, because they don’t know whether they will have labour in 2018 and 2019 to pick that crop.”
The losing ‘remain’ camp has not given up on a second referendum. Seven appeals have been lodged with various courts demanding a parliamentary vote rather than the PM enacting article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.