7 June 2018

Free Exchange: Henry Newman on breaking the Brexit deadlock


Brexit is at an impasse. Today’s row between Theresa May and David Davis over the wording of a customs backstop ended with a fudge of a fudge of a fudge. This has only underlined just how difficult this government has found it to stick its Brexit colours to the mast. That is partly because of a disagreement within Cabinet. But it’s also the product of a hung Parliament that whatever the government agrees, a majority of MPs might take a different view and scupper the whole thing.

With the Brexit countdown clock ticking, a crucial series of votes on the EU withdrawal bill around the corner, and a council meeting at the end of the June, Theresa May is running out of time.

To help break the deadlock, Open Europe, a think tank that is home to some of the smartest thinking on UK-EU relations, this week published its blueprint for a deal that is a workable compromise in what is a fraught Brexit debate.

In a special Brexit edition of the Free Exchange podcast I spoke to Open Europe’s director Henry Newman about their proposal for a pragmatic deal with the EU as well as why Brexit has drifted so badly off course.

You can listen to the full episode here, or subscribe via iTunes.

Oliver Wiseman is Editor of CapX.