When she secures an increased majority, she will be able to soften Britain’s exit from the EU if necessaryby Ros Altmann / May 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
We may be on the cusp of a political earthquake: old tribal political loyalties are breaking down across the country. Many traditional Labour voters are switching to the Tories. Ukip voters too. The government is in a commanding position, and prime minister Theresa May is seeking to consolidate her gains: she has called an election, seeking a strong mandate to negotiate Britain’s future. I expect the British people will give her their trust: she leads the country virtually unopposed. It is almost like an autocracy.
Assuming that she does win a landslide, she will be in the strongest position any PM could wish for as she heads off to negotiate with Brussels. And the received wisdom is that, with the country united behind her, she will be able to strike a better deal for Britain. This may turn out to be the case.
But consider, for a moment, another possibility. Imagine that the European Union does not bend to Britain’s will. If this turns out to be the case, May should consider putting her large majority to another use entirely.
If the PM hangs tough and does not blink first, she may be able to achieve the desired outcome: a good Brexit deal with minimal costs to Britain—and big opportunities to trade globally. Perhaps the rest of the EU really will be petrified of Britain leaving, and treat it as a special case, allowing us to keep the trading advantages we currently have as members while we negotiate new trade relationships with other countries.