As Brexit transition tears Tories, one deal maybe not enough

Press quote (Bloomberg)
02 October 2017

Britain will have to ask the European Union for two back-to-back transition deals to ease its exit in 2019, according to Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform research institute. The influential think-tank believes Britain will need years to prepare for Brexit and the two-year transition proposal that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives are still fighting over won’t be nearly enough to protect businesses from a cliff-edge.

“There will be two transitions: The first one will be the status quo -- identical to membership but with no votes for the UK, and two years won’t be long enough," Grant said in an interview. “Once you’ve worked out the new relationship, you then need an implementation phase to phase in the new rules.”

...Grant’s proposal is also controversial, as the one thing both May and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier agree on is that any transition will have a clear end-date. May, in an effort to placate the pro-Brexit wing of her party, pledged a “double lock” on the interim period, saying it will be “time-limited, giving everyone the certainty that this will not go on for ever.”

The government says that at least the outline of a trade deal will be done by March 2019. “It suits both sides to pretend that transition will only last two years,” Grant said.