Rachel Cunliffe, deputy editor at Reaction, says Yes.
There are two sides to any negotiation, and as you might have noticed, the EU is the larger and more powerful player in the Brexit battle. But the UK still has cards to play, most notably with its contributions to the EU budget, its position as the beating heart of the European financial services industry, and its clout as an export market. Playing these cards is another matter, and strategies mapped out in secret at Brexit HQ may pan out very differently when thrown open to the scrutiny of Parliament.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has already proved himself a thorn in the Prime Minister’s side, while the Liberal Democrats (in both the House of Commons and, more importantly, the Lords) have been given a fresh burst of energy by the Richmond by-election. They’ll be on the look out to hold up Brexit in any way they can if the deal is deemed to be too severe. Theresa May now has a balancing act to perform. There will be new red lines, and if our EU counterparts don’t realise that yet, they soon will.
Alex Thomson, director at Hanover Communications, says No.
I am sure the government would rather not be publishing its plan for Brexit negotiations. Which is just as well because they will be doing no such thing. Anyone expecting that this publication will be a clear, detailed run down of the Prime Minister’s negotiating strategy clearly hasn’t read many government documents, which can be heroically vague when they need to be.
Brexit will be not just an almost indescribably complicated process, but a dynamic one where positions alter as negotiations proceed. But even if Theresa May spelt her red lines out on the front page of The Sun, it wouldn’t really matter because the cold hard facts are that the power lies far more with the EU than the UK. The EU’s lead Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s suggestion this week that the window to come to a deal could be as little as 15 months – while coolly acknowledging that there won’t be enough time to deal with every issue – makes very clear who is in the dominant position, and it isn’t us.