Brexit forever or Brexit never? – Reuters

By Guy Faulconbridge
| LONDON

LONDON In the year since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the future of Brexit has been thrown into question by Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed gamble on a snap general election.

While both May’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party now explicitly support leaving the club the United Kingdom joined in 1973, some of the Union’s most powerful politicians have raised the possibility of Britain cancelling Brexit.

Will Brexit actually happen? And if it does, how might it look? Following are some of the options.

1) BREXIT IN NAME ONLY

Under this scenario, Britain leaves the EU but gets a deal that is as close as possible to EU membership.

Before the June 8 election, May proposed a clean break from the EU: leaving its single market, which enshrines free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and proposing limits on immigration and a bespoke customs deal with the EU.

But the election result deprived her Conservative Party of its majority in parliament, and such is the collapse of May’s authority that her Brexit strategy is being picked apart – and softened – in public by her ministers, lawmakers and allies.

“When the British people voted (in the EU referendum) last June, they did not vote to become poorer, or less secure,” British finance minister Philip Hammond said in a speech this month.

“They did vote to leave the EU. And we will leave the EU. But it must be done in a way that works for Britain,” Hammond said, adding that he wanted an agreement for trade in goods and services and a transition deal to avoid unnecessary disruption.

The Brexit referendum result, under this scenario, would be formally honored but Britain would remain either in – or very close – to the single market and the customs union and with some deal on immigration, while paying membership dues to the EU.

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