Political strife in UK escalates due to Brexit debate, expert says

It is still unclear whether London and Brussels can reach an agreement by this October

Resignations in the UK government have led to the weakening of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s position, however, the course of the relations between the UK and the EU after Brexit remains undecided, an expert of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Anna Vilovatykh stated.

"Current processes point at the possibility of growing political struggles in the UK," the expert noted, commenting upon Friday’s British Cabinet meeting on Brexit and resignations in the country’s government. "It is still unclear whether London and Brussels can reach an agreement by this October. This dynamic is connected to the upcoming redistribution of power and capital after Great Britain leaves the European Union."

Vilovatykh pointed out that Brexit Minister David Davis resigned because the politician did not agree with May’s support of a "soft Brexit". As described by May, this means that Britain would have to adapt the same trade regulations as the EU, in order to carry out unhindered transactions. Moreover, this plan means that while London would formally leave the European Court’s jurisdiction, it would still take into account its decisions in some spheres. Supporters of a more radical Brexit policy fear that May’s course means that Britain would depend too much on the EU, especially in the sphere of trade.

In this situation, May tried to maintain the unity of her cabinet, however, her attempts have not been successful. "Recently, there have been disagreements with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whom she threatened to fire not so long ago due to his refusal to follow the party line," Vilovatykh continued. "Keeping in mind that the conservatives do not form the absolute majority in the House of Commons, Davis’ resignation may significantly undermine the Prime Minister’s standing in the long run."

Despite Cabinet reshuffles, the process of the UK leaving the EU remains unclear, the expert noted. She reminded that on the outcomes of the session, the British officials did not rule out the possibility that an agreement with Brussels may not be reached by October, and that they need to prepare for a scenario when Brexit would happen with no agreement in place.

In the expert’s opinion, London can compensate domestic issues on a foreign policy arena, during the NATO summit, which will take place on July 11-13, and during the summit between May and US President Donald Trump on July 13. "In these conditions, the English choose a tactic that has been effective for centuries - unite the West against a common external enemy, who allegedly threatens the interests and values of a liberal world order," she concluded.

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