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{UAH} Everything has changed in UK politics and so must Theresa May

Moses Nekyon,.Frank Mujabi/Comrade Ron Okuonzi

The UK has changed so dramatically within the space of just a few months- nothing is certain anymore. Did people seriously underestimate a bearded marxist, Jeremy Corbyn,  and his correct reading of a deep-seated desire for change- and to overthrow the existing status quo? From left to right, pro and anti-brexit, every one now agrees the UK can not go as it is- and there must be a fundamental change in direction.


Everything has changed in UK politics and so must Theresa May

Britain needs a cross-party approach to Brexit negotiations with Europe

Theresa May went to the country in pursuit of an iron-clad mandate for Brexit negotiations. In her vision, Britain would never accept free movement of people or the authority of the European Court of Justice. The UK would not remain in the single market or even the customs union. Beyond that, details were scant. The message was: trust me and I will deliver.

The voters have responded with a stinging rebuke. Mrs May has lost her parliamentary majority. The prime minister has been forced to form a strange-bedfellows coalition with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists. Her mistakes in the Conservative manifesto and on the campaign trail — and the improbable rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour — were remarkable. But this is no time to look back: the Brexit negotiations are set to begin in less than a fortnight.

Mrs May will struggle mightily to lead these negotiations in her enfeebled state. European negotiators will open divorce talks with someone they may well consider a mere caretaker. Even if Mrs May could obtain her version of hard Brexit, it seems unlikely it would command a majority in parliament. A softer deal might well suffer the same fate.

The Brexit negotiations cannot simply be kicked into the high grass until the UK rediscovers its political equilibrium. This is true, first, because of Mrs May's decision — bizarre in hindsight — to trigger Article 50 ahead of the election. There is simply too much work to do to lose any part of the two years that are already ticking away. Second, British business must not be left to twist.

The prospect of prolonged uncertainty will only make it easier for international companies to justify putting investment on hold and moving people elsewhere. Even UK companies need to know what sort of future to prepare for. The fact the economy has shown a few signs of slowing should bring this point home to all parties.

The election of a new Conservative leader would not yield the popular mandate that Mrs May lacks. None of the obvious successors seem likely to be unifying figures. Another general election would test the patience of the voters after three polls in three years. And it would probably only reveal the same thing that Thursday's did: a deeply divided country.

Pausing the two-year Brexit clock is, in theory, possible. Doing so would prolong the period of economically damaging uncertainty — but from the point of view of business, this would at least be preferable to the certainty of a "cliff-edge" departure from the EU without the benefit of a deal. The 27 other EU members would have to be convinced to go along, however. Their co-operation cannot be assumed.

The Brexit negotiations put an enormous premium on having a government that can speak firmly and unequivocally. That, and the sheer importance of this moment in Britain's history, suggests the idea of a national unity government, made up of ministers from both parties.

It is an appealing thought: it would create the strongest possible negotiating position and, as a result of the consensus-building process, that negotiating position would almost certainly incorporate a softer vision of Brexit.

In the real world, it will not happen. A revived Labour party will not play ball. Having obtained one of the best election results in years, Mr Corbyn will be tempted to let Mrs May and her party wither and go for outright victory in the next general election.

There is another option, though. That is initiating cross-party discussions with the goal of establishing a well-defined approach to Brexit, one that could command a parliamentary majority. This would require Mrs May to abandon her all-controlling managerial style in favour of compromise and consensus-building. It would also force her to face down the hard Brexiters in her own party. David Cameron's failure to do so — and his fateful decision to call a referendum — laid the ground for the current deadlock.

Labour too has a responsibility to act in the interests of the country. So far, its position on the terms of Brexit have been a study in ambiguity. Mr Corbyn's success in the election gives him the power to move Labour from a fringe party to a potentially serious player in the Brexit debate. It is time for all sides to consider the national interest rather than the narrow party interest. Mrs May has an obligation to do so — or else go.

Letter in response to this editorial:

Let UK-EU customs union serve as a foundation stone / From Andrew Duff, Cambridge, Cambs, UK

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