POLITICS

Theresa May Had 7 Article 50 Goals - And She's Failed All Of Them

This will make that dinner in Brussels pretty awkward.

16 October 2017 | Updated 17 October 2017

Theresa May has failed to stick to any of the seven targets she set her Government in her letter to Brussels triggering Article 50. 

Six months on from firing the starting gun on Brexit, the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis will dine with EU chiefs in the Belgian capital after talks reached a stalemate. 

But as the two sit down with with chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, they have made no progress on the guidelines set out by May in March. 

In that historic Article 50 letter, the Prime Minister outlined seven principles “to make sure that that the process is as smooth and successful as possible.”

But, in each case, the UK Government has failed to deliver, the pro-single market campaign group Open Britain has said.

For example, Theresa May said “we should engage with one another constructively and respectfully”, before accusing the EU of interfering in the General Election.

She called for rapid progress on Ireland and citizens’ rights, while no deal has been agreed on either of these subjects. And she called for talks on the UK’s future relationship with the EU to take place as the same time as negotiations on the divorce bill – but the Government was quickly forced to admit this could not happen.

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Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said ministers “have botched” negotiations and they should change course. 

He said: “Nothing shows how badly the Government have botched the Brexit negotiations than a look back at Theresa May’s letter triggering Article 50.

“From hoping for a constructive atmosphere, the talks have crashed into acrimony – much of it the fault of the UK Government.

“We still have no deal on the withdrawal issues, the Government caved into the EU’s demands on the timing of talks, and uncertainty is damaging our economy.

“It’s clear the form of Brexit sold to the British people in the referendum is becoming impossible to deliver. Ministers must change course and ditch their plan for an extreme and destructive hard Brexit.”  

Theresa May’s Seven A50 Letter Principles 

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European Council President Donald Tusk shows British Prime Minister Theresa May's letter

Principle 1

Theresa May: “We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in “a spirit of sincere cooperation.”

 

The Reality

Theresa May has said that the EU and the European press tried to influence the result of the UK general election with “threats” and “misrepresentation”.

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Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson 

Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons that European leaders can “go whistle” with regard to the UK paying a high settlement to Brussels.

Principle 2

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Theresa May heading to Brussels for Brexit talks with European Union chiefs

“We should always put our citizens first…There are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights.” 

The Reality

No deal has yet been done on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and Theresa May has repeatedly refused to guarantee their rights

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EU citizens rally in Trafalgar Square, London, where they are lobbying MPs to guarantee post-Brexit rights.

Principle 3

“We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement…We believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.”

 

The Reality

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Brexit Secretary David Davis

Principle 4

“We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible.”

 

The Reality

Brexit related uncertainty has been blamed for inflation reaching 2.9%, raising concerns about the cost of living and wage stagnation. Consumer spending has dropped to 0.3% as of September 2017, while the OBR directly blamed Brexit-related uncertainty for a £900 million shortfall in tax receipts.

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Sterling has tumbled since the Brexit vote and plummeted further after Theresa May's disastrous conference speech. 

 

Principle 5

“In particular, we must pay attention to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland.”

The Reality

No deal has yet been agreed on preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Politicians in the Republic of Ireland believe this may be impossible.

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Principle 6

“We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges.”

 

The Reality

Technical talks on the future UK-EU relationship have not yet begun because of lack of progress on the so-called divorce bill In August, Michel Barnier stated that, “no decisive progress on any of the principal subjects” has been made” in his talks with David Davis.

May and Davis have repeatedly called for the EU to come up with “imaginative” solutions, but the Government’s own position papers on customs and other technical issues have been heavily criticised both in the UK and in Brussels as lacking detail.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May (top left) stands next to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (C) and President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (R

 

Principle 7

“We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values.”

 

The Reality

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has sent up to 1,000 deportation letters to EU citizens, demanding that they leave the UK immediately or face removal. 

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Home Secretary Amber Rudd leaving Downing Street
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