Next PM must avoid making mistakes like Theresa May on Brexit, think tank warns

Posted On: 
16th April 2019

The next Prime Minister must avoid making the same mistakes as Theresa May on Brexit, a top think tank has warned.

Theresa May is thought to have made mis-steps in the Brexit process
PA Images

The Institute for Government said the successor to the current Prime Minister should appoint a new deputy to oversee the future trade negotiations from the very top of the administration.

And it said the Government should “rethink its approach to member states” in the EU in a bid to improve the “tone” of the talks.

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Mrs May is thought to have made a series of mis-steps in the Brexit negotiations during her time as Prime Minister - including a refusal to budge from her red lines and failure to read the tactics of the bloc.

But she has promised to stand down if her Withdrawal Agreement is passed by Parliament and allow a new leader to take over the future trade negotiations with the EU.

In a new report looking at the first phase of negotiations, the IfG criticised her move to quickly set up the Department for Exiting the EU and the Department for International Trade within a day of taking office.

Programme director Jill Rutter said: “Those hasty decisions created completely foreseeable problems for the exit negotiations, compounded by the inability of the Cabinet to reach an agreed position on the key future economic relationship.

“Whoever is Prime Minister for the second phase of the negotiations needs to ensure that they avoid similar mistakes next time round.”

The IfG said the first stage of talks were “bedevilled” by Cabinet splits, a loss of trust between the Government and its backbenches and confusion over ministerial structures.

It recommended that the Government publish its ambitions for the next stage without setting out red lines, and better engage parliament and the devolved administrations.