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    British Prime Minister Theresa May

    Scholar: 'Theresa May's Strategy Is to Use the Threat of No Deal'

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    In an effort to try and win over people in Northern Ireland, Theresa May, is visiting the country to try and prove that she can secure a Brexit deal that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland. Looking at May’s deal and the recent Brexit developments, Sputnik spoke to Dr Connal Parr Lecturer in History at Northumbria University.

    Sputnik: Theresa May is trying to reassure people in Northern Ireland that she can secure a Brexit deal that avoids a hard border with Ireland, following efforts by the Prime Minister to change the backstop. How significant is this visit and where do we stand currently with the backstop?

    Connal Parr: Well I think that clearly, Theresa May's strategy is to use the threat of no deal as in the prospect of that coming down the line to be able to kind of rely on this sort of possibility as something which will pressure eventually the key thing which remains the next parliamentary vote. So what Theresa May keeps counting on is, the closer you get to the prospect of an no deal, it's the kind of thing if you pull back from the precipice you pull back right at the end of this potentially occurring and by that stage other MPs both in the Tory party and in Labour will sort of come to their senses.

    I think that is her strategy or that's what she's hoping for. The problem is the clock is ticking, the days are counting down, it's now under or less than two months until the UK is to leave the European Union under Article 50 and there has to be some movement on that and we're still in between that rock and a hard place of the DUP and the Brexitiers wanting to get rid of the backstop, and the European Union and the Irish government saying the backstop has to stay. So what has to happen now is the Irish government would have to be the thing to compromise and to say we don't want the backstop but they want the backstop and they will always make sure that they could try and get the backstop.

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    Sputnik: Yesterday the government was dealt blow after doubts arose over Nissan's future in the UK. Could we see more companies like Nissan leave the UK and if so what actions do we need to see form the government to prevent an exodus of industry?

    Connal Parr: I think that there are certainly going to be more incidents of this occurring. It should be pointed out that the automotive industry the car industry has been on the back foot and has been in decline in the UK for some time now, but it's clear that there is some kind of a message in this particular Nissan decision and they have made it clear as a company that Brexit is stifling their involvement in the UK and their activities in the UK, and that this is now hampering and affecting the car industry generally and especially through them.

    It's very ironic of course as you know because Sunderland is the place which immediately loses out and Sunderland is a huge Brexit or strong Brexit supporting constituency in a city in the UK, I have to say I can see much more of this kind of thing occurring but you should also be aware of the overall decline and the British car industry and how this business on this particular environment is shifting to Asia in any case.

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    Sputnik: As a no deal looms as an ever more likely scenario; is it an option that should be ruled out of alternatively followed by the British government?

    Connal Parr: I think it's just the immediate impact of a no deal as in planes possibly wouldn't be flying for two weeks, for instance, because of disruption and the necessary kind of checks paperwork which would have to come from that; aside from also the damage to food supply chains and the kind of immediate economic damage that hitting would be very severe and I think it's something that people haven't prepared for adequately. Everyone comes at this situation with a kind of independent viewpoint; my own belief is that it's not been the UK Government, who still doesn't really have a plan for it in that no deal scenario and that is what we are looking down the barrel of.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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