What next for Brexit?

After months of political wrangling over Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would stand down as leader of the Conservative Party. The news triggered a leadership contest but also sparked fresh concerns over the likelihood of reaching a Brexit deal. Elsewhere, pro-EU parties generally performed well in European Parliamentary elections, although leading conservative and socialist parties suffered a decline in support.

  • Mrs May urged politicians to reach a compromise
  • The UK, France and Italy saw a surge in nationalist votes 
  • The Brexit Party took the largest proportion of UK votes

After months of political wrangling over Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would stand down as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June. While the news triggered a leadership contest, it also sparked fresh concerns over the likelihood of reaching a Brexit deal. 

“Hopes that a Brexit deal can be agreed in the next five months are starting to fade”

In her resignation speech, Mrs May urged her successor to focus on “compromise” in order to deliver Brexit, saying: “A consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise”. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) echoed her words, stating: “Compromise and consensus must refind their voice in Parliament”, while the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) commented: “The UK is already paying the price for a political system at war over Brexit … a new Prime Minister must work to avert a messy and disorderly exit”.

Elsewhere, in the elections for the European Parliament, pro-EU parties generally performed well, although leading conservative and socialist parties suffered a decline in support. The UK, France and Italy saw a surge in nationalist votes: in particular, the recently formed Brexit party garnered the largest share of the UK vote – 32% – followed by the pro-EU Liberal Democrats with 20%. 

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU by 31 October this year and, against a backdrop of intense party and Parliamentary divisions, hopes that a Brexit deal can be agreed in the next five months are starting to fade.


 

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