With a leaked memo suggesting the government has no Brexit plan, should it delay invoking Article 50?

David Davis
Is David Davis on top of the UK's Brexit strategy? (Source: Getty)

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat by-election candidate for Richmond Park, says Yes.

Yesterday’s leaked Brexit memo made it clear why Theresa May won’t tell us her plan for Brexit; because she doesn’t have one. Her government is failing to come up with clear answers on the most important issues, including Britain’s membership of the Single Market.

Given the state the government is currently in, it’s difficult to see how it could ever be in a position to trigger Article 50 by March next year.

My position is clear. I don’t think it’s possible to negotiate a better deal than our current membership of the EU. So I am asking voters in Richmond Park to give me a personal mandate to fight against Brexit.

If the government triggers Article 50, I will work with colleagues from across the political spectrum to give the public a vote on the final terms of the deal. Many people are worried the government is headed for a disastrous Brexit that risks jobs and investment. They should be given the chance to say whether the final deal reached is right for them, their families and community.

Ruth Lea, economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, says No.

Of course, there are issues surrounding our departure from the EU. But the recent reporting of an initially anonymous “leaked memo”, claiming that the government has no overall plan for Brexit, was little better than idle mischief-making.

The PM’s Brexit speech in October was fairly clear about the general direction of travel. She effectively ruled out staying in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Granted, the High Court’s insistence there should be parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50 was an unexpected setback for the government (and unlikely to be overturned by the Supreme Court). But leaked memos and constitutional wrangling are not reasons for postponing Article 50.

Assuming Parliament respects June’s referendum result, the PM should press ahead as planned. The process of leaving the EU means uncertainty, not least of all for businesses. Postponing Article 50 merely adds to that uncertainty, making it all the harder for businesses to plan. So, in a phrase, “just get on with it!”

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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