Making sense of trends and data

A Bumpy Brexit

Published 11.4.2016
Again it's been more than a month since LWRAS considered the status of Brexit, the United Kingdom's (UK) exit from the European Union (EU). The UK's exit from the EU promises to alter the economic relationships in Europe, an important factor when analyzing the business and market opportunities for technologies and companies. After weeks of political wrangling and stodgy progress, this week there was an unexpected development.


  • The UK's High Court ruled that Theresa May, the Prime Minister (PM), could not go forward with Brexit without approval from Parliament. Parliament must approve the government’s Brexit process before it can begin. Most assume that this will slow but not stop the process. Of course, the ruling will be appealed to the UK Supreme Court.

    Mrs. May would be forced to work with Parliament and consider its competing priorities for Britain’s future. Specifically, she would have to give it a detailed strategy for negotiating the British departure, or “Brexit.” She has adamantly resisted doing so, arguing that this would impede her flexibility in the negotiations, preventing Britain from getting the best possible deal.

    She’s not wrong here. The ruling diminishes her power and control over the negotiations. IN the immediate term, it increases the uncertainty for an already uncertain situation.

  • The High Court’s ruling give the 48% a voice. It also take Parliament off the sidelines.

    In his judgment, the Lord Chief Justice said that the "most fundamental rule of the UK constitution is that Parliament is sovereign and the Crown cannot overrule Parliament and can make and unmake any law it chooses."

    Which ironically, is one of the arguments made FOR leaving the EU. May had asserted that she could invoke article 50 without getting the approval of Parliament. Prior to the vote, most members of Parliament were for “Remain.” However, most think they will not vote against their constituents.

  • The reaction in some quarters was furious, and that post isn't even reporting reporting on the conspiratorial mutterings of Nigel Farage. The Supreme Court will rule on the appeal in December, and the government is “confident” that it will win the appeal. But it it doesn’t, it’s not even clear if an act of Parliament would be required or just a simple vote of members.

  • A Tory rebellion brewing? Well no, one resignation does not a rebellion make. Actually make that two resignations, though the first to go left over the expansion of Heathrow. European leaders aren’t happy with the High Court’s decision either, as it slows everything down.

  • Brexit buyer’s remorse? Well, not really. A recent poll finds a very slim margin of voters now say they want to stay in the EU. There may have been a shift in sentiment, but not beyond the margin of error.

  • Even before the High Court ruled, there was ripples of trouble. The UK nations are not on the same page. In particular, Scotland’s First Minister never misses a chance to get a dig at the process. She’s not wrong in this case, though to point out the obvious. There isn’t a plan yet for Brexit. There’s only the insistence that it’s going to happen.

  • In early October, May decided it would be a "Hard" Brexit, starting in May 2017, though that isn't the phrasing she used.

    She also rejected the idea that Britain must choose between “hard Brexit” and “soft Brexit,” saying it’s a “false dichotomy” to suggest that Britain must decide between “some form of continued E.U. membership and . . . a conscious decision to reject trade with Europe.”

      But that's precisely the choice that European leaders are saying the Brits do face.


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