Latest Issue

Theresa May will find it hard to forge a trade deal for Brexit Britain—but there may be a way forward

In some ways, May's struggle mirrors that of previous Prime Ministers. But the world has moved on since Macmillan's dealings with Europe in 1958

By Helen Thompson  

How will Theresa May get a "yes" on trade? Photo: PA

When Theresa May asked Parliament to trigger Article 50, she launched Britain into an unknown economic future. However, the strategic dilemma confronting May in her attempt to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement with an accompanying customs accord for post-Brexit Britain is, in part, familiar to that previous prime ministers faced.

In 1958, Harold Macmillan insisted that if the European Economic Community (EEC) states did not agree a free trade deal, he would withdraw British troops from western Europe.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect