Ben Williams: It's a dream team if you believe in Brexit and want to see Brexit delivered sooner rather than later because the three individuals cited in this 'dream team', Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg, they're all consistent Brexiteers confirming throughout that they want Brexit, they campaigned for it, they've indicated their impatience with the process and how long it's taking. I suppose collectively you could assume they would deliver it more quickly, the only slight note of caution is that they have been known to be rivals in the past. Grove and Johnson infamously fell out when there was a race to succeed David Cameron which Theresa May eventually succeeded in, so although they're collectively seen as a 'dream team', they're individual politicians with their own ambitions and there's no guarantee they could all get on and deliver what they're suggesting to be the case.
Sputnik: Prime Minister Theresa May may not be the most superlative of MP's, she's steering a very difficult course and she's become a compromise prime minister where both sides just seem to be accepting that she's sort of taking the flak and just leave it to her until the next general election. What's your take on that?
Ben Williams: In many ways Theresa May is seen as a safe pair of hands, she herself campaigned to remain, although she was fairly cautious, not one of the most enthusiastic remainers. She's in a very difficult position, because of course she did call a general election last year, while she didn't necessarily lose, she did lose her majority.
The party is torn over Brexit and has been for a long time. The Conservative Party and its divisions on Europe are legendary, going way back into the 70's when Britain initially joined, which accelerated in the 80's and 90's, so she's been weakened on those fronts, but she's also weaker because she's surrounded by divided views, she's got some fierce Brexiteers in her cabinet, and she's deliberately tried to get a degree of balance because there are also some remainers in the cabinet as well who have been quite vocal in terms of a more cautious approach and who have indeed indicated there maybe some ongoing integration even after Brexit, and I think, in particular Chancellor Philip Hammond, who's seen as a remainer, have antagonized many of the leading Brexiteers because he's seen as someone who appears to be trying to soften the extent of British Brexit and our eventual departure from the EU.
Sputnik: News of the conspiracy against Theresa May comes after she has been warned about failing to deliver a hard Brexit, is it likely that she will change her stance on Brexit?
Ben Williams: She's trying to appease two very opposite sides, she's indicating that she's going to deliver a Brexit to meet the needs of the democratic wishes of the British people, but she's also conscious of the fact that head chancellor and other advisers in the civil service are giving her kind of cautious observations and comments about the possible impact of Brexit and in that sense a so-called soft Brexit is still possible, but of course that is going to cause ruptures between the so-called hard Brexiteers. The reality is actually that this definition of this hard and soft Brexit, those that want the most wholesale absolute removal from the EU who are known as the hard Brexiteers, they're actually only a minority of the British Parliament, the interesting scenario is, if it went to a vote and there was kind of a proposed hard Brexit, there are enough dissenting Conservative MPs alongside members of the other parties for the deal, if it were presented, to be rejected. Theresa May, because she hasn't got a parliamentary majority, because she's got a divided party, can't really guarantee what kind of Brexit she's going to get through for that reason.
Sputnik: Despite a year of talks the prime minister's failed to show her vision of Brexit. Now the question is do you think that we'll see what kind of a relationship she actually wants with the EU in the upcoming Brexit talks?
Ben Williams: To give her credit she has survived for the past year to eighteen months and the phrase 'between a rock and a hard place' comes to mind. She's got these two conflicting sides, she's managing somehow to keep her party together, which has been a longstanding challenge of Conservative politicians in relation to Europe. She's always weakened by the fact that she hasn't got a majority and it should also be noted that she only needs 15 percent of her MPs to formally trigger a leadership contest, that is actually only 48 MPs which is a relatively low number and there are significant murmurings that enough could be found to trigger that, now of course is a very difficult scenario for the Conservative Party because that could destabilize the country at a very difficult time, negotiations with the EU, but it could lead to another general election. As far as Conservatives are concerned that could lead to a very bad scenario from their perspective, because it could lead to the election of a Labour Party who’ve improved their position in the polls, are led by a fairly left-wing radical figure Jeremy Corbyn and that does frighten lots of Conservatives, that could be the fact that holds them back, the 48 don’t light the fuse as it were, because they are aware that it could trigger a chain of events that leads to Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.
Ben Williams: The major problem is that we currently have fairly favorable economic and trading terms with the EU, and that the EU made it quite clear that post Brexit settlement, those same terms will not be delivered, we will be actually dealing with the EU on a less favorable basis regardless of what the government think they hope to get a better deal, it's quite clear that we're likely to have a significantly worse deal than we have at the moment.
The problem is that Brexiteers are saying it's not a major problem, that we can compensate for that loss by negotiating positive trade deals across the world and that may well be true. And I know people like Liam Fox are currently globetrotting, seeking to negotiate these terms, but the only problem about it is that there's no guaranties that these next set of deals with other countries are going to be as favorable in terms of our economic benefits, our wealth, our trade than the current situation we have with the EU, so while we may have a greater volume of trade deals with other countries it may not deliver the same economic growth and prosperity and that is the ultimate negative consequence that could come from this situation which remains for the British country a major leap in the dark.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.