Janice Morphet, author of Beyond Brexit, looks at what the future holds for the U.K. after the triggering of Article 50 and the formal beginning of the Brexit process.
As the UK government faces its two-year roller coaster ride of negotiation, following the Prime Minister’s triggering of Article 50, many pressure points have already been revealed while some remain as haunting unknowns.
The first challenge that has emerged is how ill prepared the UK government finds itself. While the letter triggering Article 50 and the subsequent White Paper on the Great Reform Bill are full of words addressing internal political party agendas, any pretence of maintaining a united view across the UK has been abandoned.
No legal basis for devolution
Although stating in the White Paper that everything would remain the same until dismantled and changed through Parliamentary procedure, this is completely undermined in the chapter on devolution which confirmed the re-centralisation of returned powers on agriculture, environment and some transport issues.
Subsidiarity is based on principles laid down in the Treaty on European Union and there are no guarantees that it will survive Brexit as a principle of the UK state. Following Brexit all devolution within the UK, including to cities in England, will transfer to the whim of each five-year Westminster Parliament and cannot be agreed in perpetuity.