Hard Brexit or softly does it? Or Maybe not at all. The last few days have seen calls and warnings running across the entire gamut of potential scenarios.
Let’s start with the rebels, the hard Brexit people. A new pressure group, answering to the catchy title ‘Leave Means Leave’ has been launched. It is headed by businessman, and Pro Leave Campaigner, Richard Tice, who said: “Let's be clear: No deal is better than a bad deal.” The group has won support from a gaggle of Tory MPs including Dominic Raab (ex-justice minister), Sir Gerald Howarth, (ex-defence minister) and Owen Paterson (ex-environment secretary). Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Tice said: “The British people made it clear that they wanted to leave the EU. There should be no compromise on this. The sooner we leave the more certainty and confidence for everyone.”
Meanwhile, the chancellor, Philip Hammond has apparently been warning against hard Brexit. We don’t have his word for it, just anecdotal evidence and words from people who are said to be in his camp. The FT quoted one Hammond man as saying. “The ‘Three Brexiteers’ want a much bolder strategy, but Philip Hammond is warning of the dangers of going too far.”
In case you were wondering, the three Brexiteers, named by the prominent Leave Campaigner Alexandre Farage Dumas, are Boris Athos, Davis Porthos, and Aramis the Fox. Rumour has it that their occasional friend D’artagnan Gove is watching from the sides.
Back to Mr Hammond, and his supporters, it is said that the chancellor has warned Theresa May against pursuing policies that discourage investment into the UK.
Meanwhile, Jens Weidmann, boss of the Bundesbank – Germany’s central bank – and a highly influential banker, warned the Guardian that if the UK chose the hard Brexit route, London may lose its position as the world’s premier financial hub. He said: “Passporting rights are tied to the single market and would automatically cease to apply if Great Britain is no longer at least part of the European Economic Area” (EEA). Passporting rights, which enable banks from one location in the EU to trade across the region without having to set-up offices or branches in each country they operate in, are considered essential for the City of London.
Mr Weidmann continued: “To assume on the basis of the developments so far that there won’t be any negative consequences would be to draw false conclusions. Great Britain is very closely tied to the EU and Germany. If you reduce these relations to that of a third country, it will suppress economic growth in Britain.”
On the other hand, he said: “Of course several businesses will reconsider the location of their headquarters. As a significant financial centre and the seat of important regulatory and supervisory bodies, Frankfurt is attractive and will welcome newcomers. But I don’t expect a mass exodus from London to Frankfurt.”
And finally, according to the Telegraph, five senior EU officials believe that once the penny drops on how difficult Brexit is going to be, the UK will give up on the very idea of Brexit altogether.