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    UK Political Party Manifestos 'Hide Truth' About Brexit Realities

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    A new report out, May 31, says that, in the run-up to the UK general election, the main political parties' "ambitious policy pledges" in their manifestos fail to take account of the constraints Brexit negotiations will place on the new government.

    Ahead of the snap general election in Britain, June 8, the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats' manifestos all ignore the true potential impact of Brexit, a new report, 'Red, Yellow and Blue Brexit: the manifestos uncovered', by academics from the UK in a Changing Europe shows.

    The report, highlights the challenge Brexit represents for the British state after UK Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, firing the starting gun for Britain's exit from the European Union.

    ​According to the academics, the UK civil service will need to coordinate the negotiations, draft the Great Repeal Bill — which take all EU law into UK law — and prepare primary legislation whilst the necessary administrative and regulatory structures will need to be put in place before Britain leaves the EU.

    Yet, they argue, the manifestos, with their ambitious policy pledges, fail to take account of the constraints this process will place on administrative resources.

    "The majority of the next parliament will be a post-Brexit one. It will have to deal with the implications of one of the most important and difficult decisions that Britain has ever taken. What a shame the parties did not factor this into their plans," said Professor Anand Menon, The UK in a Changing Europe director.

    ​The Conservative policy to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands is also likely to have severe economic consequences. The party does not quantify the consequences of its immigration policies. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated the fiscal impact of a reduction of net migration from 265,000 to 185,000 at about US$7.7 billion a year by 2021.

    ​Labour want to maintain membership of the single market but will end freedom of movement when the UK leaves the EU. The academics say this position is thus fatally flawed as the EU has already made clear that the freedom of movement of people — one of the four pillars of the union — is non-negotiable.

    ​The Liberal Democrats — who are pro-EU — would be caught between negotiating a very close relationship with the EU and arguing such a relationship would not be preferable to remaining, the academics say.

    "What is striking, is that while all three parties view Brexit as a major event, the manifestos treat it largely in isolation from other aspects of policy, rather than the defining issue of the next parliament," said Prof. Menon.


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