Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

May might not give much away in Brexit speech

How much detail does Theresa May need to give in her much-anticipated Brexit speech on Tuesday? The Prime Minister will presumably have to say more than ‘Brexit means Brexit’, and odd phrases about what colour Brexit should be (red, white and blue) won’t pass muster either.

But remember that the original big Brexit speech at the start of a year was the Bloomberg speech that David Cameron gave in 2013 – and he gave so much detail about what he wanted from a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union that he was inevitably going to disappoint, which he then did, taking Britain out of the EU as a result. May will not want to fall into the same trap.

Neither will she want to be the one who gets blamed for Britain not getting certain things. Single market membership for instance, would be better withdrawn by recalcitrant EU leaders, than something that she seems to be happy to give up herself. This is something that those with a close eye on the mood in the Conservative Party believe os really important – that the EU is seen to inflict anything that might be unpopular on Britain, rather than Britain asking for the wrong things.

Finally, as I said in the Sun recently, the Conservative party is in a good mood, and while MPs are keen that May sets an upbeat tone about the opportunities that Brexit presents, they don’t actually seem as agitated about the detail. Which means that she could get away with saying not very much at all.

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