UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s key speech about Brexit earlier this week showed she lacked meaningful plans to take Britain out of the European Union (EU), says a scholar in London.
Dr. Rodney Shakespeare made the remarks while discussing May’s vision for Brexit, which she outlined during a speech in the Italian city of Florence on Friday.
She stressed that the UK would leave the European Single Market, but noted that London still wants economic relations with the bloc and it will not turn its back on Europe.
However, she also noted that the British people never felt comfortable as a member of the EU and want to make their own laws independently.
“Overall, the government headed by Theresa May has no vision as regards the great forces of history,” Shakespeare said on Saturday.
“It is very clearly looking to stay within outdated American aggressions, support for the medieval barbarous regime of the autocratic [Persian] Gulf monarchies and it has at the same time no fundamental new ideas for the detail of what would happen within the UK after Brexit,” he added.
The analyst said May lacked a plan to address the three issues that the EU has raised as the key to further progress in the negotiations.
So far, the two sides have failed to reach a meaningful agreement on the issues of citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the “divorce bill.” The EU insists that London should address these areas before proceeding to future ties, an area that the UK is most concerned about.
May drew a lot of criticism during her recent speech by proposing a two-year transition period at the end of talks in 2019 to give the EU and the UK the time they need to finalize a deal, which basically means there would be no Brexit until 2021.
On the issue of EU citizens, Shakespeare said May did well by not using to her advantage the fact that there were more European citizens in the UK than there were Britons living in the EU, a fact that gave her “the stronger hand.”
However, the analyst criticized May’s response to the EU’s demands for a hefty divorce bill, saying the fact that she agreed London had to pay anything at all was going to cause problems for the UK.
The EU has asked for a bill as high as 100 billion euros. While May admits that there is bill to pay, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says EU officials should “go whistle” if they think London would make the payment.
“Looking at it as a whole, there was no clear vision,” said the scholar. “When Brexit actually happens, people within the UK… they won’t be any better off because you see the government doesn’t have any plans.”