What is behind the talk of a Brexit “national emergency”?
3 August 2018
Each day brings ever more shrill warnings of a national crisis in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
With the March 2019 deadline for Britain’s leaving the European Union (EU) approaching, no agreement has been struck on the terms of withdrawal.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for a “softer” Brexit, keeping some form of regulatory and judicial arrangements with the EU, has been vetoed by her own euro-sceptics. At the same time, the EU, under pressure from US trade sanctions and mounting national antagonisms within the bloc, has thus far refused any accommodation with the UK—fearing a domino effect.
Government ministers, including May herself, are touring European capitals, hoping to secure a breach in the alliance. Brussels has rejected UK proposals for the City of London to have an enhanced “equivalence” model-similar to that of the US and Singapore’s-to preserve access to the bloc. The announcement earlier this week that Deutsche Bank has moved almost half of its euro-clearing business from London to Frankfurt created alarm.
On Wednesday, the head of the Food and Drink Federation called for a “crisis meeting” with the government over the probability that a hard Brexit—leaving the Single Market and Customs Union—would lead to rising prices and food shortages, under conditions in which 44 percent of trade is with the EU. The same day, planning documents from local authorities gathered by Sky News showed that many were preparing for “possible repercussions of various forms of Brexit, ranging from potential difficulties with farming and delivering services to concerns about civil unrest.”
This followed statements by Dominic Grieve, Conservative MP and leading…