Would the British government want to revise the terms of Brexit a little? The topic is still explosive in the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has had to refute similar intentions that have been announced in the press. “Let me be unequivocal on this. Under my leadership, the UK will not seek any relationship with Europe based on EU law,” the prime minister, an early proponent of Brexit, told the CBI, the country’s main employers’ organization, adding that Brexit “already brings significant benefits and opportunities for the country”.
The United Kingdom left the European Union in January 2021 after several years of intense political struggle to establish a new relationship between the two entities. The Sunday Times said on Sunday that “members of the government plan to put the UK on a path to a relationship similar to that of Switzerland with the European Union.” An initiative that will be “aimed at strengthening economic ties” with the EU.
“Don’t betray us about Brexit,” reads a Daily Mail headline.
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This information caused an uproar among Brexit supporters. “The government should focus on what it needs to do, rather than trying to reopen the already established debate about Europe,” Conservative MP Ian Duncan Smith told The Sun. “Don’t betray us about Brexit,” headlined the Daily Mail, a popular pro-EU daily newspaper on Monday. In an attempt to calm the uprising, a spokesman for the Conservative government on Sunday dismissed such a project, calling the article “categorically false.”
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And on Monday morning, Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick assured that the United Kingdom now has a “clear stance” on its relationship with Brussels with the 2019 deal.
Thus, the United Kingdom has left the single market, even if trade is still largely free of customs duties, done away with freedom of movement and no longer contributes financially to the EU. But last week, Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said he wants to see “the vast majority” of customs barriers between his country and the EU, has already raised questions about the government’s intentions. Especially as he is now in fierce talks with Brussels to modify the protocol on Northern Ireland to resolve the question of the status of the province in the midst of a political impasse.
“Major economic and financial crisis”
This sequence “is interesting in that it seems to show that Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt (…) recognize that the ATT (a trade and cooperation agreement signed between the EU and the United Kingdom) is bad for the economy. But the outrage and denial show how difficult it will be for a Conservative government to acknowledge this,” said John Springford, a researcher at the Center for European Reform and an opponent of Brexit.
More and more Brits are regretting leaving the EU. Support for Brexit is at an all-time low, with 56% of Britons saying it was a mistake, according to a poll released by YouGov last week.
This contradiction arises when a country is going through a severe economic and financial crisis. Most economists and business leaders see Brexit as an aggravating factor in the crisis, also caused by the war in Ukraine. After leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom was forced to abandon trade agreements and, in particular, concluded some of them with the EU and several European countries, as well as with New Zealand and Australia. Negotiations are underway with India, Canada or the United States.