All three of the UK's largest political parties are ignoring the potential impact of Brexit, academics have warned, with the Conservatives failing to reassure businesses over future market access.
But despite May yesterday putting her ability to tackle Brexit at the heart of her campaign, a think tank based in King's College has warned the Conservatives and their rivals are failing to make it central to their plans.
The UK In A Changing Europe, which promotes independent research into the UK's ties with the EU, cited in particular May's party for failing to clarify how it hopes businesses will operate after Brexit.
“The Conservatives are also committed to seeking 'a deep and special partnership including a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement',” the think tank said.
“But there is no mention of the compromises that might be required – that the UK might effectively have to sign up to EU standards with relatively little input and accept the de facto jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in some respects – to secure a genuinely comprehensive agreement.”
It added: “There is absolutely nothing that will reassure key UK sectors, like pharmaceuticals, the financial sector, and the automotive industry, whose regulatory position, access to markets, or supply chains are threatened by Brexit.”
The Tories were also cited for failing to explain how they will mitigate the impact of their plans to cut net migration.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated the fiscal impact of a reduction of net migration from 265,000 to 185,000 at about £6bn a year by 2021.
Separately, the think tank criticised Labour for providing no detail as to why “no deal” is the worst possible option for Britain, while it added the Lib Dems would be caught between negotiating a close relationship with the EU and arguing such a relationship would not be preferable to remaining.
UK in a Changing Europe director Professor Anand Menon said: “What is striking, is that while all three parties view Brexit as a major event, the manifestos treat it largely in isolation from other aspects of policy, rather than the defining issue of the next parliament.”