Friday

19th Apr 2019

May promises hard Brexit in Tory manifesto

  • May wants voters' support for a hard Brexit. (Photo: Reuters)

British prime minister Theresa May has pledged a hard Brexit in her Conservative party manifesto on Thursday (18 May), arguing that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK.

May outlined the UK's tough negotiating position ahead of the 8 June general elections, confirming that she wants to take Britain out of the single market and the customs union, and "reduce and control" EU migration.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"We will leave the European Union and take control of our money, take control of our borders, take control of our laws," she told a crowd in the town of Halifax on Thursday.

"Every vote for me and my team is a vote that will strengthen my hand in those Brexit negotiations," she added.

The manifesto, the second longest in the Conservatives' history, also restates May's disagreement with the negotiating schedule set out by Brussels, and says talks on the divorce and future trade should be completed in the two years provided by the Lisbon Treaty.

However, May maintains that a no deal scenario is acceptable for the UK.

"The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give-and-take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK," the document says.

On the key issues identified by the EU - safeguarding citizens' rights, avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and settling the UK's financial obligations - the manifesto has not revealed much.

The Tories pledge to "control immigration and secure the entitlements for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU".

But that stays short of the EU's goal to secure the citizens' and their families' rights for a lifetime with the legal protection of the EU Court of Justice, the bloc's top court.

The manifesto also says "we will determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state", but it also says, the "days of Britain making vast annual contributions to the European Union will end."

It does however state that it will be "reasonable" to contribute to the specific European programs that the UK wants to have access to, without naming those programs.

The manifesto also promises to "maintain as frictionless a border as possible for people, goods and services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The document says the UK wants to enter negotiations in a "spirit of sincere co-operation", and that Britain wants to have a "deep and special" trading relationship with the EU, with few barriers to trade and investment.

The final Brexit deal would be voted on in both houses of parliament, according to the document.

The manifesto would give mandate for May to walk away from the Brexit negotiating table without a deal.

It would also rally all her Tory MPs behind a hard Brexit after the elections on 8 June.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday said negotiations should start the day after the elections and warned again that no deal was a bad option.

EU wants Brexit talks to start the day after UK vote

EU negotiator Michel Barnier urged negotiations to begin as soon as possible, while European Council chief Donald Tusk said the EU-27's red lines will be updated once talks can move on from the divorce to the future relationship.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Tories on manoeuvres, as Labour wakes from Brexit slumber

In Labour's programme for the June election, Jeremy Corbyn claims there will be no second EU referendum and promises a form of associate membership with the EU. For the moment, it’s as far as his party can go.

May's election win would still mean hard Brexit

A confident majority for Conservative prime minister Theresa May in Thursday's general election could help Brexit talks, but it will not spare the UK and the EU a hard Brexit.

Feature

'Swexit' off menu at election for first time in 24 years

The Swedish Left Party have abandoned euroscepticism to campaign on climate change - whilst the hard-right Sweden Democrats spy possibilities of a link up with Matteo Salvini of Italy and France's Marine Le Pen.

Opinion

Brexit vs Grexit: The six stages of losing to the EU

Theresa May's venture seems very similar to the attempt by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 to persuade Brussels to accept his terms for the bail out - a huge negotiation failure, presented to the public as the best possible deal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us