EU negotiators are bound to capitalise on Theresa May’s loss of authority in the Brexit negotiations, according to LSE Professor Tony Travers.
As the UK marks the first anniversary of the Brexit vote with the Conservatives clinging to power, all the cards are in favour of the EU, Professor Travers says.
“The UK Government’s strengths are smaller than they were prior to the general election and their weaknesses are greater than they were,” he adds.
“It’s possible it will result in a softer Brexit but it is also possible that it could make the risk of an accidental hard Brexit more likely.
“If the Government can’t get anything through the House of Commons and finds it difficult to hold together a Coalition for a more moderate Brexit, a hard Brexit will be the result.
“However, if the Chancellor Philip Hammond manages to steer through a more emollient Brexit with no cliff edges for business, that would take us through a softer Brexit with many years of transition.”
Professor Travers says the next 12 months will reveal whether the UK Government has “a brilliant plan” for Brexit they have been keeping under wraps, or “not much of a plan,” relying on their negotiating strengths.
“The most surprising thing for me is that on issues where the Government could have explained their Brexit policy to the British people prior to negotiations – such as agriculture and skills training – we haven’t heard any details at all. Hopefully in the next 12 months we will find out.”