David Davis admits Brexit plan isn’t ready. So why the urgency on Article 50?

Would you trust a pilot who doesn't know how to land?


If the government can’t reveal its Brexit plan before February, why does it want to trigger Article 50 in March?

That’s a question someone should put to Brexit Secretary David Davis, who yesterday told the Brexit select committee he’s still scrabbling around to come up with a plan.

Davis said:

“The reasons for setting the final possible date, 31 March [for triggering Article 50], were numerous but one of them was the determination to carry out all of the policy work first, consult properly and then bring something to parliament.  …

It won’t be next month. The policy work is still under way and there are quite a few decisions that have to be made.”

Well, that’s reassuring. So just to clarify where we are, the government is working on a plan, in secret, for taking Britain out of the EU, and until last week was refusing to say what was in it beyond empty platitudes.

Now parliament has backed a motion saying the government will lay out its plans before Article 50 is triggered – but not until a few weeks before, since the plan, er, isn’t finished yet.

We don’t know exactly when the plan would supposedly be published, or precisely when in March Article 50 will be triggered. So this would give the country eight weeks at the most to scrutinise the plans for the biggest change in how we’re governed in maybe half a century.

After those few weeks of frenzied debate, MPs will vote on whether to trigger Article 50 at Theresa May’s arbitrary deadline – unless of course she wins her Supreme Court appeal and is able to bypass a vote in parliament.

If that happens, Davis et al can launch the good ship Brexit with a grin and a smile at powerless MPs, clutching a plan that as yet does not exist.

Who has ‘control’ in this scenario? ‘The people’? Or sneering Tory ministers who think themselves above parliament and the law?

And why the urgency when they more or less admit they don’t know what they’re doing? Perhaps they think Brexit is like removing a plaster – one quick rip to get the pain over with, before we get cold feet.

But why should we trust a pilot who says he hasn’t worked out how to land?

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Brexit could rob you of your human rights. Here’s how to protect them

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

3 Responses to “David Davis admits Brexit plan isn’t ready. So why the urgency on Article 50?”

  1. GodfreyR

    More remoaner nonsense. The sooner we are out of the EU the better.

  2. Mike Stallard

    Mrs May has promised that we will apply Article 50 by 31st March 2017. Her ministry depends on her word. Also the EU Grandees now shun her (even though she was a Remainer).
    And of course the government has not got a clue! We all know that.
    The real plan: We need to leave the EU pillar of the EEA and join the other pillar of the EEA. Then we will be free to negotiate everything with the EU from outside, but safely trading without any difficulty at all.
    Details of this statement?:

  3. Craig Mackay

    It is too easy to dismiss the problems of getting an acceptable Brexit deal with a phrase like “more remoaner nonsense”. It’s just as silly to ignore final demand from the taxman that lands on your floor.
    Mike Stallard believes that the EEA will be the solution to our problems. It does indeed allow countries to trade with the EU single market. There is a minor technical problem, however, which is that there is essentially free movement of people between EU and EEA states. The restrictions on that movement are almost identical to the restrictions on movement between EU states which Theresa May as Home Secretary never actually instituted. You can read about those at: http://outsidethebubble.net/2016/12/06/massive-negligence-by-theresa-may-when-home-secretary/

Leave a Reply