With a crucial vote for the Government on Theresa May’s negotiated Brexit deal scheduled in Parliament this Tuesday, the country is still no closer to knowing what our trading relationship with the EU will look like in 74 days time when Article 50 is scheduled to end our EU membership.
Even with rumours of Labour back benchers breaking ranks and voting in favour of the Brexit deal on the table, there are so many Conservatives who intend to vote against it that with 24 hours to go it’s hard to see a mandate in favour, although 24 hours is a long time in politics so perhaps Theresa May isn’t quite finished yet.
Bizarrely, even some of the MPs most in favour of leaving the EU are likely to vote against the proposed deal, on the grounds that they’d prefer to crash out of the EU with no deal. Simply walking away and defaulting to World Trade Organisation rules appears more appealing to them than the deal on the table.
Labour, who in theory agreed to back the will of the people and respect the referendum result, have another play in sight – that of a no confidence vote, toppling the government and putting Jeremy Corbyn in power. This would likely be with the immediate intention to delay Brexit on the grounds more time was needed to negotiate a new deal. As that’s probably dependent on 28 EU countries agreeing to a delay and their already stated determination that this is the best deal available, the levels of uncertainty in the country would only rise.
The final option would be to simply revoke Article 50 and remain within the EU for the foreseeable future but this would be unprecedented. It’s rare for the government to ask the people’s opinion but when they do it’s almost compulsory for them to respect it. Imagine the uproar that would have taken place if in the Scottish Referendum the result had been reversed with a vote to leave the UK and then Parliament voted to force them to remain. Remaining in the EU would result in MPs losing pretty much all trust and respect from their constituents – even those who voted remain.
Any of the Brexit deal options will almost certainly see Sterling tank on the money markets and the cost of living and importing sky rocket.
What really matters to online retailers isn’t how or when (or even if,) we leave the EU, but how it will impact our trading relationship with the EU. To date the government has provided precisely zero guidance under any scenario that is aimed at small or micro businesses and no intelligible advice aimed at ecommerce. Whether we leave the EU with a deal, without a deal or at some point in the future with a delayed deal, planning for your business and how it will operate in 74 days time is impossible – even the simple things like who you can employ and how to ship a parcel to Germany are still unknown.
What would be your preferred Brexit Deal? Would you take the deal Theresa May has negotiated, prefer to simply walk away and leave the EU with WTO rules, or wait for Jeremy Corbyn to crash No. 10 and either delay, attempt new negotiations or possibly rip up the idea of leaving the EU entirely?