Brexit debate intensifies

This week the inevitable clash between Brexiteers and reality came to pass as Theresa May finally unveiled the Brexit deal. The basic facts are that hard Brexit is too economically destructive to be a genuine option, while any compromises to minimise that harm will leave us subject to EU rules without having a say on them. As was always the case there is no middle ground. Where we go from here is unclear, although we suspect most MPs will conclude a bad deal is better than no deal after all.

While objectively it is a bad deal, a half in – half out Brexit, in many ways it much better than we expected it would be. Some access to the single market is retained; while freedom of movement, budget contributions and shared fishing rights are all over. That negotiators managed to win concessions on European Court of Justice’s oversight is genuinely impressive. This deal will have delivered most of what was campaigned for, but it remains to be seen if this pragmatism can win out.

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