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Brexit - The Art Of The No Deal

by Chauncey Tinker – 8 Nov 2017

Remember how we were told that the govt. needed 6 months to figure out how to go about negotiating Brexit? This was one of Theresa May’s stated intentions during the Conservative leadership contest that led to her becoming Prime Minister without a vote. The failed leadership contender Andrea Leadsom proposed to start the negotiations immediately (you remember she was the one who shockingly suggested she might have doubts about gay marriage and so was subjected to a barrage of hostility from the MSM). Ms Leadsom had the right idea, Theresa May simply succeeded in delaying Brexit by 6 months – a delay that only benefited attempts to derail the Brexit process altogether and keep us in the EU.

During those 6 months up to March of this year I have to wonder just exactly what was accomplished? Did the govt. spend 6 months coming to the conclusion that they would agree to some amount of a “divorce bill” but fail to make a decision on what the amount would be? Did the govt. spend 6 months deciding that they would simply copy/paste all the EU laws into UK laws, a decision that could have been made in a split second? Is that really a good idea anyway, given that one of the objections to the EU from many was the onerous amount of red tape coming from Brussels? I will look more closely at these questions in this series of posts.

All that seems to have happened after another 7 months since then is a failure to reach what is supposed to be the first hurdle in the negotiations – agreement on the “divorce bill”. Since its not written anywhere that a country has to pay a large divorce bill on leaving the EU, it seems to me that the EU leadership is simply stalling the Brexit process – probably with the intention of avoiding a deal altogether. It starts to look as if we will be leaving the EU without a deal then, but I began to wonder what would that mean in practice? Would it be worth trying to drop some of the red tape instead of just taking it all on board? I therefore decided it was time to start taking a closer look at what a “no deal” Brexit would look like.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of laws and regulations (far from it), this will be a learning journey for me and I may have come to some different conclusions by the end of it. Hopefully readers will help me out by throwing in their ten pennies’ (or thousand pounds’) worth of their own opinions and knowledge along the way.


This article from the “Institute of Economic Affairs” argues that the leaving process is more akin to ending membership of a club (where one simply stops paying the membership fee at some point) than a divorce (where a couple decide how to divide assets and liabilities):

Should the UK pay an EU divorce bill?

This above article states that the House of Lords concluded that the UK would be on strong legal grounds if it didn’t pay any divorce bill at all, although this article also urges a more “flexible approach”.

This next article from politico.eu also states that David Davis’s number 2 backed the findings of a report that said that the UK would not be under any obligation to pay the “divorce bill” in the event that there was no deal:

UK could walk away without paying Brexit bill, ministers believe

The UK’s contribution to the EU could simply cease in March 2019 in the event of a “no deal”, that seems to be an established fact. Personally I take the view that the UK should not pay any “divorce bill” anyway, deal or no deal. A point made in the latter article above is that “we ‘remitted one half of all German debt” in the 1950s. Another argument is that we have always been a major net contributor financially – so if anything the EU owes us. What’s more the EU has apparently failed to keep any audited accounts for many years.

The reverse suggestion, that we might be owed something from the EU has been rejected by the EU not surprisingly. From the Express:

‘You own NOTHING’ Brussels insists net payer Britain has ‘no right’ to share of EU assets


Sounds great doesn’t it, the “Great Repeal Bill”? The real name of the bill though is the “European Union (Withdrawal Bill)”. This bill is the one concerning the “copy-pasting” of EU laws into UK law. From the Daily Telegraph:

What is the ‘Great Repeal Bill’?

The pro-EU Financial Times warned May against bowing to pressure from Brexiteers to avoid simply adopting all the current EU legislation:

Achieving a great repeal will not be copy-and-paste

We have been a member of the EU for over 40 years and the world is a lot more complicated now than it was when we joined. There has been much scientific and technological progress meaning that there are a lot more potentially hazardous chemical, biological and industrial processes going on, and we also have a lot more knowledge about those hazards.

However some of the scientific ideas that the EU has accepted as established fact may not be as certain as has been claimed – climate change of course being a major theory that is coming under increasing scrutiny due to emerging data. Do we really want to simply enshrine regulations based on such a theory into UK law without question?


There won’t be much point in “copy-pasting” lots of EU laws/regulations into UK law if we have no mechanism to ensure those laws/regulations are adhered to. Apparently the CBI says that 34 EU regulatory bodies will have to be replicated in the UK (according to the FT).

The CBI says that UK exporters would face trade tariffs in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. In this document they state that the average tariff on UK exports would be 4.3% and an even higher tariff would be placed on imports. They also state that there would be even more costs from non-tariff barriers. They warn of a “serious economic cliff – edge”:


However surely this works both ways – surely the EU exporters to the UK will face the same sorts of problems. Since more is imported from than exported to the EU then surely any tariffs and other barriers will hurt the EU more than the UK? This is a subject deserving further scrutiny in future posts.

According to Conservative Home, the CBI is not a reliable source:

The CBI has been reliably wrong on just about every major issue for many years

That’s kind of an ad hominem, and although its tempting to simply dismiss everything the CBI says as “Project Fear” and so forth, perhaps it is worth at least thinking a bit about tariffs and trade barriers. In the no deal scenario perhaps these will indeed be introduced and they will be something of an encumbrance to trade, even if the EU is more adversely affected overall.


A parliamentary committee has been meeting to discuss Brexit, and they have been discussing the possibility of a “no deal” Brexit. I am listening to their meetings at the moment and will provide some notes about them in future posts. If anyone else wants to listen in to these and submit their own posts on the proceedings we will be happy to publish them as future posts here at the Participator.

Exiting the European Union Committee

Anybody can make written submissions to this committee by the way using this form (I’m not really sure if they are inviting questions or for people to submit info. or both here):

Written submission form – The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal


The EU are dragging their feet and making ridiculous demands for some sort of unreasonable “divorce bill”. It really seems we are heading towards a no deal Brexit (assuming there is no successful attempt to derail the Brexit process altogether but personally I doubt that will happen).

In future posts we will be looking more closely at proceedings and trying to determine in more detail what a “no deal” may mean in practice. The process of copy-pasting all the EU laws into UK laws may also lumber us with some laws that could hold us back so we need to take a closer look at this.

We need to keep the pressure on!!!


We followed an attempt at Brexit by Judicial Review:

Brexit By Judicial Review


Government to recruit 8,000 officials as part of preparations for no-deal Brexit

Farage’s EPIC dismantling of Brexit doom-mongers will make every Brexiteer proud

‘No Deal’ nonsense


A history of the UK’s EU membership

India free trade deal with EU taking forever:
Germany pushes for post-Brexit EU trade deal with India

What’s the Difference Between Laws and Regulations?

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