The other Brexit negotiations plan

There is an ongoing heated debate over how much if anything of her intentions Theresa May will reveal before triggering Article 50. Does she want to stay in the single market? Does she want UK citizens to have any rights (short of complete freedom?) to travel and work in the EU? Does she want to maintain the reciprocal arrangement on health care? Does she want all the policing co-operation to continue (we think so)? Does she want us to stay in the scientific research programmes? Etc. Etc.

This is all in our interests: does a sovereign nation that has taken back control have the right to enter agreements that are in its interests? Yes it does. That’s how we got in to the EU.

Presumably we want out of the Common Fisheries Policy, but some sort of agreement on fisheries will be desirable, to prevent overfishing. (Yes, I know that’s what the CFP is.) And do we want to expropriate the fishing quotas that have been sold by British fishermen to Spaniards? I wouldn’t think so – that’s not how the UK behaves – but in that case, what respite is there for British fishermen?

All this and more May or May Not be answered. This isn’t about what the UK might settle for – you don’t give that kind of thing away – but about what we want. Any successful negotiation needs to start with both sides understanding what the other wants to achieve.

And that brings us to what I think is the much harder question: what does the EU want out of this? Remember that we are not really negotiating with the EU as a body. The commission doesn’t have any say itself, though it’s main function is facilitating these kinds of negotiations. We are negotiating with 27 other EU members and the European Parliament. There’s every chance that they want 28 different things.

Some will want a soft Brexit to minimise the damage on both sides. Some may want a hard Brexit ‘pour encourager les autres’. One even wants to sell BMWs.

Leave campaigners promised us that the other 28 would be reasonable – that it was project fear to suggest otherwise – and they may be right. But reasonableness may not be enough when you need to agree a single consensus negotiating stance for the EU and you actually have 28 different ones all of which must be satisfied. (Though a limited agreement could be reached by qualified majority.)

We have been focusing on how hard it is for the UK to articulate what we want when we all know that the national interest demands we stay in the EU. It is much harder for the EU to articulate what it wants because it does not have the authority to speak with a single voice: EU members are sovereign nations and therefore sign their own treaties.

Perhaps it is time to re-open the question of whether the Article 50 process is fit for purpose. There was some discussion before the referendum whether Article 50 was the right way to Brexit, but David Cameron settled that by saying that he would invoke it in the event of a leave vote. But who is David Cameron?

Article 50 starts a clock that works against the UK. It gives the European Parliament a say but not the House of Commons. It is the preferred route for European leaders who want the upper hand. It serves, as intended, the interests of the remaining members. It is no way to take back control.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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  • Little Jackie Paper 13th Dec '16 - 10:33am

    ‘Perhaps it is time to re-open the question of whether the Article 50 process is fit for purpose.’

    This is an excellent question.

    A50, presumably, was in that treaty with the express intention of allowing states to leave. I can’t think of any other purpose. Juncker and Tusk appear to have taken the view that the EU is the Hotel California and that the EU institutions have no business in assisting a member state exercise a formal treaty right. It is their failure to hold early discussions that is holding up the show at least as much as anyone on the UK side.

    No one signed up to the idea of the EU as prison.

    Frankly if the EU institutions are the, ‘guardians,’ of these treaties they’ve not exactly excelled themselves in their stewardship of A50. To say as much is not to endorse the UKIP world view, it is to state what’s in front of me.

    A50 is not fit for purpose. Otten is right. If we accept that leaving the EU is not theoretical then surely we need something better than this. If, of course, we see the EU as permanent, for ever, never to be reversed then that I think is a rather different issue. But it is not a deal any of the 28 have signed.

  • Let’s face it. She is a clueless woman who was perhaps the most ineffective and useless Home Secretary we’ve ever had. Like D Cameron’s immigration targets or loath them, if you’d been given them to achieve and went completely backwards year on year, you’d be out on your ear in any other job, would you not? The bottom line is that Mr Cameron liked to have inept Ministers around him (except for Osborne) to make him shine by comparison.

    Theresa May managed to get away with not taking any kind of real public position on the Europe referendum issue for month after month – I blame David Cameron for this as much as the national press. She has inherited the Prime Ministership of this country basically only because all the ‘big hitters’ in the Tory Party were (like their Labour counterparts) looking to ‘the leadership contest after next’. Of course she hasn’t got a clue about Article 50 and related matters. She gave that job to Davis, Johnson and Fox, din’t she? So now she hasn’t got FOUR clues! 🙁

    Incidentally, I like Joe’s point “It gives the European Parliament a say but not the House of Commons.”

  • @Little Jackie Paper – The rest of the EU is waiting for us to start the exit process by triggering article 50.

    The delay is entirely on our side since more than five and a half months later we still haven’t managed to sort out our correct constitutional procedure for doing so – which could have been decided on in advance by the pro-Brexit faction of our government and duly approved by Parliament prior to the referendum. Nor have we managed to make decisions on even the simplest of policy options related to Brexit – e.g. Will we put a border fence in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic to “secure our borders”? or decide what will happen to the EU citizens who live here (some of whom have lived here since before we joined the then ECs in 73)?

    If we haven’t managed that in five and a half months, we have to question the competence of this Consevative Government to negotiate the purchase of an Oyster Card, never mind something as complex as an exit or post-exit agreement with the rest of the EU.

  • Little Jackie Paper 13th Dec '16 - 12:03pm

    Paul – On informal negotiations I guess that we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    But this is what struck me most – ‘never mind something as complex as an exit or post-exit agreement with the rest of the EU.’

    That surely is the exact point in the article – it is not clear that A50 as constituted and stewarded is fit for purpose. Now if you take it from there to the conclusion that the EU is something that once you are in you can never leave then fine, feel free to argue the case. However my take is that the Treaties as signed plainly envisage leaving and if it is an explicit treaty right surely that should be something that can be reified?

    Unless you think that there was some other purpose to A50 being in the treaty – if so I’d be very interested to hear your thinking.

  • Just to think if article 50 had been initiated by Cameron within two days of the result, as he had promised and as we all voted on occuring, then this would be a mute point and the pointless self-publicising acts of people bringing High Court and Supreme Court cases we could all have been spared, indeed Parliment would now be overseeing the process.

  • @Joe
    ‘piss in the tent’ I assume that is into the wind, because that is what we remainers are doing at the moment.
    On the issue of what the other 27 member states want, the answer is as much as they, as member sates can get. Paris and Frankfurt are going to pick over the City. Poland and Spain are probably eyeing the car industry. The shameful thing the UK did was not only to vote to leave but in doing so declared a curse on their houses (Farage, May How would you feel. The truth we have to face is that these negotiations are going to be a farce. It will be leave and then we’ll talk about trade, and by the way here’s the bill. I know that would be my attitude. The only hope we have is that we can get a ruling on whether A50 can be withdrawn and that public opinion starts to change. Damage limitation is the order of the day.

  • ethicsgradient 13th Dec '16 - 1:19pm

    my understanding was that article 50 was put into the Lisbon treaty to placate the euro-septic tendencies of the UK. It was written in a way to make it difficult to use so as to deter anyone from actually using it. It was a political fudge to give the impression that a county could theoretically leave the EU. As the article says.

    There are other ways of leaving. We could unilaterally declare full sovereign independence and simply repeal the 1972 european union act. That though would not go down to well with our european neighbors and would cause havoc in the houses parliament. Article 50 is not a good process but it is better than the alternatives.

  • Little Jackie Paper 13th Dec '16 - 1:27pm

    Joe Otten – Sure. But I’d be interested in your answer to the excellent question that you posed – if the current A50 is not satisfactory in meeting its purpose (which we agree on) then what would be better?

    There are all sorts of arguments that could be made. The UK after all has long been a net contributor to the EU – personally I think that should count for something. What if a net recipient wanted to leave? Would they be asked to pay the difference in the name of negotiation? I dread to think how complex it would be for an EZ member!

    This is difficult, and for the record I’d be happy enough with a Norway type arrangement. But (I think) we agree that the current A50 isn’t working – so what’s the answer? Surely if there is a Treaty right to leave, that right should be something that can be made to work practically? This isn’t something that the EU institutions should have been treating as whimsy for a decade. If states sign up to a treaty they surely have a reasonable expectation of being able to enforce it without Hotel California situations.

    I do of course accept that this all leads to the wider question of whether there should be a right to leave at all. That is a whole other set of arguments.

    ‘Countries that fail this test (as one or two are on the path towards) will soon find themselves outside the EU.’

    Which countries and under what Treaty provision?

  • ethicsgradient 13th Dec '16 - 1:45pm

    I would also say, just because something is difficult, it does not mean that it is not worth doing.

    I think it will be perceived as difficult then as we come close to the end of the process things will fall into place out of necessity.

    one area where remain voters and leave voters differ is on who has the stronger position. Those supporting remain consider the EU to have the stronger position due to its size and holding access to the european single market. Conversely those who voted to leave consider the EU to hold a stronger position because UK trade with the EU is falling, the EU as economy and as a trade area is weakening and shrinking, growth lays outside the EU and we have all those chances to get trade agreements and reduced tariffs with the rest of the world once we leave. Ergo we’d be fine falling back on WTO rules initially. Therefore we have the stronger hand (add also defense, intelligence assets and the thread from Russia).

    I foresee a messy ride with a transitional agreement leading to qiud-pro-quo equivalence and tariff free trade between the UK and EU.

    The EU is about to have 2 years of difficult times itself, it will be self evident that they will wish for a good deal with the UK.

  • “There was some discussion before the referendum whether Article 50 was the right way to Brexit.”

    The main problem is that because people were not engaging their brains both prior to the referendum and directly afterwards and simply grasped on Art.50 as being the means of exit, without any real understanding of what might be involved. So we are now in a state where everyone thinks the only way to leave is to invoke Art.50, when it is not!

    The important question isn’t so much how to leave but what is the intended destination. If we really want to maintain trading relationships with Europe and the Single Market then the invocation of Art.50 might be the last thing we want to do. Instead we might actually want to remain and use our upcoming Presidency and seat at the table to set in motion changes that will deliver what the UK wants (namely a two-tier EU) without the upheaval of Art.50.

  • Leekliberal 13th Dec '16 - 2:37pm

    The discussion about having a transitional period after we leave the EU to sort out uncompleted parts of a final agreement on the exit terms is surely a worry to Tim Farren.
    How can the British people, through Parliament or a second referendum, finally make an informed choice on whether to accept the brexit deal or decide to stay in the EU if we are going to leave the EU before negotiations have been completed?

  • @LJP – Art 50 is clear. Negotiations take place AFTER it is triggered not before. A member state has to demonstrate it is determined to leave; the others are not going to waste their time & taxpayers money negotiating with a country that MIGHT want to leave if it gets a great deal but will pull back if it doesn’t. Either a member state is leaving or it is not.

    Second, the article is perfectly fit for purpose. It’s purpose is to allow a member state to leave, that is determined to do so, while ensuring that it does not get to hold the rest of the EU hostage on the way out (or to dictate terms to them).

    It is exactly the sort of article we’d want were we now discussing, let’s say, Italy leaving while we were continuing on as normal EU members having never contemplated leaving.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Dec '16 - 6:10pm

    There’s an interesting court case being brought against the EU commission by some UK expats who say Junker’s stance on Article 50 is unfair and they should begin negotiations immediately, with or right article 50. More needs to be made of this – who is standing up for UK expats?

    I think the EU will want a moderately hard brexit. Many in Europe seem to want a self-sufficient Europe – a closed economy, like 18th century Japan, so they don’t worry about a bad economic deal with Britain too much, but all of them want to use our defence and security services to help with the migrant crisis and elsewhere, so if things get ugly we need to use those as negotiating chips (but not EU citizens).

    EU politicians often don’t get exactly what they want either. When farmers, as an example, go on strike with a long list of grievances, of which trade tariffs from Britain might become one (like they have with Russia) then we would probably see a change in policy.

    So we need less talk from some in the media about the “EU having the whip-hand” because often their politicians don’t even have the whip-hand in their own country. But of course we shouldn’t over-estimate our hand either.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Dec '16 - 6:16pm

    Whether or not the EU27 cohere there is also the issue of timing. It is assumed that the elections for the European Parliament in 2019 provide a deadline, but what exactly? polling day in May 2019? or the start date of election expenses? or the start date of campaigning? (May 2014?) How about the UK deciding not to have euro-elections in 2019, so that a freshly elected European parliament can vote after consulting their electorates?

  • Roland
    What SOME in Britain want (a 2 tier EU). I think a lot coming from the Lib Dem mindset were profoundly unhappy with Cameron’s points in his negotiating process prior to the referendum, which did indeed seem to be aiming for that result. I just feel that the UK has been demanding opt-outs all along, and the consensus “thinking” in Britain has always been, and continues to be, that “we” will get what we want in the end, so we always take it that there is wiggle room, and “negotiation”. The amount of negotiation available this time is vanishingly small (indeed, I am sure you are right in saying that your alternative to Article 50 would give more negotiating space). But, frankly, everybody else is apparently so fed up with the UK’s long-term intransigence, that in whatever case, countries and the EP would not give much ground.

    Ironically, a Lib Dem government would probably hold out the best hope for a “good deal”!!

  • Christopher Lyddon 14th Dec '16 - 8:56am

    You’re accepting the brexiteer view of the world. If we announce that we’re going to leave the EU, we’re leaving the EU. The benefits of being in the EU are enormous and we won’t have them. This is ever so simple. It’s something we’re doing to ourselves.

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Dec '16 - 9:50am

    Joe Otten – Thanks again for the reply. I disagree with very little there. All I think I would say is that the Norway option is something that a lot of people have looked at over the years and that has always had a recognition in those circles that just severing all links with the EU isn’t really a runner. Christopher Booker has been saying this for years and I note that the most level-headed criticism of Johnson/Fox/Davis so far has been from him –

    Indeed the unremarked upon aspect of Norway is just how it has been able to exercise influence – Admittedly oil probably helps, but then the supranational alphabet soup does beyond the EU.

    Now I’d be the first to admit that a lot of LEAVEers weren’t saying any of this in the campaign. I wish that campaign had made these points. But I’d like to think some of us were paying attention.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Dec '16 - 3:18pm

    Adverts on LDV prevent scrolling, prevent all writing and most reading. They also revert to the top.
    Adverts in The Independent stay alongside but permit scrolling and reading.

  • How and what we actually end up leaving, and what competencies we end up reclaiming is absolutely the crucial question.
    The Single European Act created three elements to the union, namely, the European Community, the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs.
    Of these three only the community is truely supranational, as at the time, even Brussels wasn’t daft enough to try and snaffle competencies around foreign policy, security and home affairs, all issues which even today I believe most people would argue should reside with the nation state. Consequently the CFSP and JHA remain intergovernmental bodies and arguably we could remain within these, as we would indeed remain a member of the Council of Europe, even if we leave the E.U.
    For me; to get out from under the less than benign influence of the European Court of Justice, the Commission, qualified majority voting and the largely incomprehensible way that works, (anyone who thinks the American electoral college is weird take a look at QMV in Europe…) and the somewhat secretive Comittee of Member States Permanant Representatives (talk about shadowy deals, they put our civil service to shame!) would be a good start.
    I would agree with many posters that the government, but also the opposition did the country a great disservice by not fully explaining what was meant by ‘out’ or at least what they envision as ‘out’, not having any plan in the event of an out vote and delivering a rubbish campaign, still at least it leaves lots in play for leavers and remainers!
    Let’s hope that if there ever is another referendum for Scottish independance it is better planned and argued than the last one was, that the government of the day has the guts to plan up front ( even if in secret ) as to what would happen in the event of a leave vote and that the whole U.K. gets a vote on the final separation deal.

  • Peter Hayes 14th Dec '16 - 4:41pm

    Richard Underhill, your experience is the reverse of mine. LDV is fine using Safari on an old iPad and Independent and my local papers web site are unusable with pages reloading, I suspect due to dynamically loading advertisements forcing a rewrite of the screen. Don’t even let me say anything about the local paper allowing adverts that take over the full screen!

  • Daniel Walker 14th Dec '16 - 5:16pm

    @Tynan QMV is more complex than votes at Westminster, yes, but it’s hardly incomprehensible:

    Lisbon Rules require both:

    Majority of countries: 55%, comprising at least 15 of them, if acting on a proposal from the Commission or from the High Representative, or else 72%,
    Majority of population: 65%.

    Not that hard. (I’ll grant at present a member state can request the vote be under “Nice Rules”, but that only lasts until March, and in any case they’re only slightly more complex)

    The ECJ can rule on European Union Law; how you could expect to have a body of law with no competent court to hear cases based on it is beyond me.

  • Hi Daniel-;
    I was trying to be somewhat tongue in cheek ( obviously didn’t work!)
    You are right that the Nice rules have been simplified but as you say until March can still be used this is my understanding of those rules-:
    proposal from commission – at least 258 votes by a majority of members.
    other proposals – at 258 votes cast by two thirds.
    If a decision is to be accepted by the council by qualified majority, a member of the council can request that the qualified majority represents at least 62% of the total population of the union.
    Weighting and allocation of votes per member state has been blatantly unfair in the past, at one point there was a role of Official Mathematician to advise on who had one the vote, that it has been simplified can only be a good thing, but as is so often with the E.U. the detail is very much in interpretation of the very small print.
    Similarly the three pillar model was all but destroyed by Lisbon as the intergrationist movement. in the E.U. sought to transfer as many competencies as they could into the community and under the jurisdiction of the E.C.J. and the Commission all whilst a lot of people weren’t paying full attention ( thanks Blair)

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '16 - 10:08am

    Joe Otten

    This is all in our interests: does a sovereign nation that has taken back control have the right to enter agreements that are in its interests? Yes it does.

    No it doesn’t. An agreement requires the other side to agree. If who you are trying to make an agreement with doesn’t want to agree, that’s its sovereign right.

    The Leave campaign went on and on about Britain “taking back control” without actually giving details of things membership of the EU was stopping us doing that the British people would want to be done and that could be done. They did this in order to spread the idea that having some sort of common trading standards equated to imperialist control: absolute nonsense, really. The reality is that the things that are wrong in this country that make people unhappy are not to do with EU membership. Making out they were due to this supposed “control” was the Leave campaign’s trickery, which the Remain campaign should have opposed good and proper. Only it didn’t because it was led my centre-right economics people who didn’t want to admit that the real problems are down to their sort of economic approach.

    As we are now seeing, very slowly and drawn out, the sort of trade agreements a Britain out of the EU would need to make won’t be very much different from the sort of common trade agreements that apply across the EU anyway. I have asked again and again for Brexiteers to give a real and concrete example of something that we could do outside the EU that would make a big difference, and none have been able to do so.

    The only obvious thing is, of course, control of immigration. But even here what it comes do to is that the big companies who are our real rulers would rather employ immigrants than spend money training locals and paying locals enough to have decent housing and be able to raise a family. If skilled people from poor countries are wiling to come here and live in squalid conditions, our real rulers would rather employ them. Exiting the EU won’t change that.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Dec '16 - 10:48am

    Joe Otten

    Remember that we are not really negotiating with the EU as a body. The commission doesn’t have any say itself, though it’s main function is facilitating these kinds of negotiations. We are negotiating with 27 other EU members

    But that contradicts the Brexiteers’ line that the EU is a unified state and controls everything.

    To me, it is pointless trying to argue for “soft Brexit”, because all that really means is not being a member of the EU in terms of having some say over what goes on it it, but in practice having to observe all its general agreements anyway. If leaving the EU does not give all the benefits the Brexiteers hinted at (but could give no real examples of), then it is better to stay in. And we should say that.

    What we don’t want is to negotiate “soft Brexit” and then have the Brexiteers jumping up and down and blaming us for it not delivering what they claimed it was, making out that we had somehow undermined it.

    So, I think we should say “We don’t agree with it, so it is up to you who do and said it would be a wonderful thing to come with how it would work”. And then abstain on any votes on it.

    Our efforts, instead, should go on persuading our colleagues in the EU not to be vindictive. It is always the case when a country has an election – somehow it is treated as if 100% of those who voted agreed with who won. So, let us point out to our EU colleagues that, no, it is not the case that 100% of British people are anti-EU. Actually it is only just over half those who voted, and many of them were tricked into it by false claims.

    It is up to those who voted Leave to say they don’t like what it is leading too once the details become clear. I hope a sufficient number will, and I think we should try to persuade them to do so. If they don’t, and Brexit leads to a mess – as I firmly believe it will – well, not our fault.

  • Little Jackie Paper 15th Dec '16 - 12:47pm

    Huntbach – ‘Our efforts, instead, should go on persuading our colleagues in the EU not to be vindictive.’

    Serious question, and to be clear I’m not getting at you.

    If another country decided to use the explicit treaty right to leave the EU do you think that other EU countries would need to be persuaded not to be vindictive?

    Are you suggesting that states should be punished for using something that is an explicit part of the treaty that everyone signed?

    ‘What we don’t want is to negotiate “soft Brexit” and then have the Brexiteers jumping up and down and blaming us for it not delivering what they claimed it was, making out that we had somehow undermined it.’

    Wouldn’t a way to mitigate that be to reach out to those who voted leave but who are not headbangers on the subject?

    I’ll take my vitriol now.

  • LJP. Seriously no vitriol. Are you saying that the vindictiveness is reserved for the UK? If you are, it is not hard to understand the roots of the vindictiveness. Just review Farage’s leaving statement to the European Parliament. I agree with you in terms of reaching out to Leave voters but the problem is that the more complicated this gets the more people retreat to simple answers. ‘Take back Control’
    ‘Project Fear’ and lets face it, nobody likes to admit their mistakes. Pride indeed may come before a fall.

  • Little Jackie Paper 15th Dec '16 - 8:43pm

    PJ – Just to be clear the word, ‘vindictive,’ was used by Huntbach and it’s one I responded to – not one I would use myself.

    Firstly, once again, the UK is using a treaty right. It is on the face of the treaty in black and white. There has been no bad faith and no one had a reasonable expectation that A50 would just be there for decorative purposes. If you want to argue that there should be no leaving the EU, feel free. Just that isn’t what anyone has signed up to.

    ‘Are you saying that the vindictiveness is reserved for the UK? If you are, it is not hard to understand the roots of the vindictiveness. Just review Farage’s leaving statement to the European Parliament.’

    Not at all. What I’m saying is that leaving the EU is something that was far from unforeseeable, nor is it something that is anything more than an explicit treaty right. I don’t see why so many have thrown their hands up in horror. Were you to be given a right, written into law do you think that it should be seen as poor form for you to exercise that right?

    If comments by Farage are a problem all I can say is that surely you don’t think that the only euroscepticism is in the UK? There is an internet full of quotes there.

    ‘I agree with you in terms of reaching out to Leave voters but the problem is that the more complicated this gets the more people retreat to simple answers. ‘Take back Control’ ‘Project Fear’ and lets face it, nobody likes to admit their mistakes. Pride indeed may come before a fall.’

    In short you are saying that you can’t do consensus-building because it’s all too difficult. Suffice it to say that I’m not impressed by that line of argument.

    Martin – ‘There is a simple bottom line which is that no country outside the EU can be granted favours that are preferential to any country that is a member.’

    Well, Guy Verhofstadt recently said that he wanted Boris Johnson to read Article 3 of the Treaty. Having read Guy’s link ( I would suggest that section K as put forward here seems reasonable.

  • Little Jackie Paper 15th Dec '16 - 8:50pm

    Martin – and to add to that, even if the UK can’t taken as a part of this, ‘association,’ in some way then non-EU countries participate in EU activity. It’s not exactly without precedent.

    And to save you saying it, yes it may well be that some leavers won’t like it. Some leavers are not all leavers.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Dec '16 - 10:29pm

    Mathew Huntbach

    Your comments above are very intelligent analytical and correct in many ways.

    A few points to consider.

    Why do you put it strongly to Joe Otten who was a keen supporter of Remain . His article does not show conversion to Brexit ?!

    Your ideas would be welcome on how , we as a movement could influence our fellow voters and Europeans , ie here to change minds , there to lessen vindictiveness.

    I would welcome suggestions for tangible ways we could yet challenge the stauch Brexiteers.

    I believe that although you are to the left of me sometimes or I to the right of you on some issues, you have values and insights I share , paticularly on not speaking down to the electorate, understanding the concerns , and criticising the fat cats !

  • I would welcome suggestions for tangible ways we could yet challenge the stauch Brexiteers.

    Well the fun and games start when the Three Brexiteers finally admit any option other than remain will negatively impact the UK and Theresa May announces she isn’t going to invoke Article 50.

    The problem in the above scenario is that the staunch Brexiteer’s would say that the Brexiteers had been nobbled and so refuse to listen to what had been said.
    I therefore suggest the approach isn’t so much to challenge the staunch Brexiteers but to address the reasons as to why others might side with them and thus undermine their influence.

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