LEADING THE WAY OUT OF THE EU

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Victory for Leave in last year’s referendum resulted in a new government under a new Prime Minister. Theresa May has made a firm pledge to deliver on Brexit despite backing Remain during the campaign. Having enjoyed phenomenal support for promising a true Brexit, the Prime Minister’s star is now falling. She lost her parliamentary majority in a hubristic snap election before making the first in what looks set to be a long line of concessions at her famous Florence speech in September 2017.

At the start of 2017, Mrs May declared her intention to pursue a clean Brexit, without continued membership of the European Single Market and without full membership of the EU Customs Union. By the end of exit negotiations with the EU, the United Kingdom should therefore be taking back control of her borders, laws and trade policy and ceasing to make big payments to Brussels. But with a reduced working majority in the House of Commons, anti-Brexit Tories like Chancellor Philip Hammond and backbench rebels Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have more power than ever. A “soft” or fake Brexit is looking more and more likely.

LEAVE.EU INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS

PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY

Theresa May became Prime Minister in July 2016 after a short contest following the resignation of David Cameron. She has attempted to rid herself of the baggage of Cameron’s modernising project, but alienated voters in the 2017 general election with controversial positions on fox hunting and social care and duly lost her parliamentary majority in June 2017. Having flattered to deceive as Home Secretary, with her speech in Florence in September she has begun what promises to be a series of about-turns on Brexit. Britain is now set to remain in the dubious single market until 2021.

A NEW CABINET FOR BREXIT BRITAIN

May entered office as a supporter of the failed Remain campaign, and tried to address her failings by placing Brexit supporting MPs in key Cabinet roles. David Davis will manage EU negotiations, Dr Liam Fox is charged with restoring Britain’s global trade prowess as International Trade Secretary, and Boris Johnson now serves as Foreign Secretary. But high profile Remainers Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd find themselves in prominent domestic roles, while Europhiles Gavin Barwell and Damian Green got big promotions after the disastrous 2017 election.

BACK TO TWO PARTIES – AND THE DUP

The 2015 general election saw the national vote fragment like never before, with UKIP, the Greens, the SNP, and the Lib Dems taking millions of votes away from the traditional political parties. But the two big parties were back with a vengeance in 2017, taking the highest combined share of the vote since 1970 as the Tories staged a comeback in Scotland and Labour recovered across the south of England. But it isn’t all smooth sailing for Labour and the Tories as both failed to win an overall majority, with stable government now reliant on Northern Ireland’s DUP.

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