General election 2017

A hung parliament – what does this mean for Brexit?

When Theresa May called the General Election back in April, it was widely assumed she would consolidate, if not increase, the Conservative majority in Parliament to give her the mandate for a strong Brexit negotiation. How wrong could so many of us be as, instead, today, we wake to a hung parliament.

While the result will be a huge disappointment if not shock to Mrs May and her party, perhaps it more clearly reflects the complex divisions that exist  across the UK

So what happens now?

Theresa May will probably remain in office while negotiations take place to agree a way forward to either a minority government, another coalition government (unlikely), or even a progressive alliance. Whatever happens the support of the smaller parties will need to be bought, and this will complicate the Brexit negotiations, (due to start on 19 June), as well as any notions of domestic reform.

What are the implications for Brexit?

The call for a general election was seen overwhelmingly as a tactical move by May to give her a greater majority and more negotiation power in Brexit talks. That move has backfired.

The talks are currently due to begin on 19 June but if it takes a while to form a government the UK could ask the EU for a delay.  The early signs from the EU are that they will indeed seek a delay.

If May stays and does move forward with her planned negotiations she will now need the support of a wider range of MPs inside and outside her party.  It will make her earlier parliamentary votes look relatively simple affairs. Any rapid move to an early Brexit final settlement looks a remote possibility, and a resounding easy House of Commons endorsement a lost cause.

What that will mean for Brexit is far too early to say, except that the negotiations from a UK perspective will be even more complex (and potentially compromised) than before.  How the EU will want to play this new situation is perhaps the biggest unknown. No one is talking of a second EU Referendum ….yet.

Our Brexit experts are here to advise businesses on what the UK's departure will mean for them. If you have a question for the team email Brexit@blakemorgan.co.uk