Written by Mertice Ho

What happened?

Two years after UK announced that it was leaving the EU, Theresa May and her cabinet have finished ironing out how the UK will be leaving the EU.

May’s soft exit plan will allow the UK to maintain close ties with the EU. The agreement proposes that EU citizens living in the UK, and British citizens residing across the EU will be able to stay where they are now and access benefits such as healthcare. For trade, May proposes that the UK will continue following the EU “common rulebook” (a guideline for the standards and regulations of goods and services) to allow for “frictionless trade at the border”. However, as compared to before, the UK parliament will have the option to vote down a regulation, or negotiate their own trade deals with other countries. Some of May’s Soft Exit plan details were conveyed in a three page statement, but many opposition members are waiting for the full 100 page document to be released.


Why is this significant?

Exit day has been set to March 29, 2019 and negotiations need to keep moving. However, it seems that the Pro-Brexit group are unhappy with the proposed plan. On Sunday, David Davis, the minister in charge of Brexit negotiations quit, with UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, also resigning a few hours later. Both feel that a Soft Exit plan would merely be conciliatory, not actually returning control back to the UK and maintaining too close ties to the EU.

May has several challenges ahead of her. Many opposition politicians believe that her government is “in utter meltdown”, triggering many to wonder if a vote of no confidence will be called (meaning that she could be replaced). Not only does May need to find replacements for Davis and Johnson, she also needs to convince Eurosceptic MPs to go with her Soft Brexit plan.

It doesn’t help that Trump will be visiting the UK this week and she’ll have to meet him and deal with the “carnival of resistance” protests rising up across London.

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