Published On: Tue, Sep 3rd, 2019

Brexit news: Theresa May’s huge error of judgement that handed EU initiative revealed | UK | News

In a Downing Street statement yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs they must vote with the Government or risk deselection. The dramatic move brought forth a frenzy speculation in Westminster that Britain might be headed for an early general election. A Whitehall source later confirmed Mr Johnson will indeed try to force one on October 14, if he loses the vote that would force him to extend the Brexit deadline.

By reuniting the Leave coalition that won the 2016 Brexit referendum, Mr Johnson hopes to defeat a Labour Party weakened by the resurgent Liberal Democrats and doubts about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

However, calling an election could still be a risky strategy.

It could easily backfire if the Brexit Party retains the double-digit support it now enjoys in opinion polls and Remainers vote tactically.

Calling an early general election proved to be disastrous for his predecessor, Theresa May, who ended up losing her majority after expecting to secure a landslide victory.

It is still remembered as one of the former Prime Minister’s most serious blunders, and has been often blamed for the current Brexit impasse.

However, according to a newly-resurfaced report on Business Insider, Mrs May’s biggest strategic error of her career was actually setting the Brexit clock ticking when she triggered Article 50.

In October 2016, Theresa May announced she would formally trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017 – a two-year process of withdrawal.

The notice, the report notes, conveniently gave the EU six months warning of what was to come while, at the same time, locked Britain into an impossibly tight schedule to prepare its case.

The report reads: “The two-year clock in Article 50 controls the entire negotiation: Any member of the 28-nation bloc that triggers it is automatically ejected from the EU with or without a deal after two years.

“It can only avoid the two-year deadline if it agrees to a humiliating reversal or obtains a highly unlikely extension to the negotiation period. ( The law is currently unclear on whether Article 50 is irrevocable.)

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“The most important thing is that the EU has no interest in giving Britain a good deal. Quite the opposite: The EU is incentivised to demonstrate to other European countries that exiting the EU leaves you in a worse position than staying inside it.

“So it is actually to the EU’s advantage to not negotiate at all, and just let the UK flop out of the EU with no deal.

“‘No deal’ is the least advantageous position for Britain, because it comes with no formal access to the European market.

“Once Article 50 is triggered, the EU can run out the two-year clock, until Britain is ejected in a ‘hard Brexit’ without any of its demands or requests being met.”

According to the report, Mrs May’s best strategy would have been to try her hardest to start informal negotiations and get an exit agreement in principal before pulling the trigger, making the Article 50 trigger itself a mere formality.

Moreover, Greenland’s lengthy departure from the bloc in 1985, even if different, should arguably have set alarm bells ringing that triggering a two-year timeline would have not been racist.

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Greenland became the first and only country to leave the European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to the EU, after a referendum was held in 1982.

As part of the Danish Kingdom, Greenland had joined the bloc in 1973.

However, not long after its entry, the country started fighting for its independence.

Former Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, who was involved in the Greenland exit negotiations, had warned Britain in 2016, that Brexit was going to be a lengthy and complicated process.

The politician said: “Negotiating Greenland’s exit was a fairly simple task that resulted in a relatively simple and easy to understand protocol.

“That took three years. Britain will take much longer.

“It’s impossible to say how long.”

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