That people and businesses in the UK should now be facing the prospect of a chaotic no-deal Brexit does not square with the manifesto on which the government was elected in 2017.

This said clearly (at page 30): “Theresa May’s Conservatives will deliver the best possible deal for Britain as we leave the EU delivered by a smooth, orderly Brexit.”

And (at page 31): “We want to ensure our departure is smooth and orderly and to agree a deep and special partnership” with the remaining states.

It is true the manifesto also said (at page 36) that “we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK”, but that only confirms the position. The government does not think its own withdrawal agreement is a bad deal, or else it would not have recommended it to parliament.

Under EU law (Article 50), the UK can only withdraw “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. One of our quaint habits under our dusty old constitution is that we tend to elect governments on the basis of what they say they will do. If they don’t or can’t, they don’t have a mandate.

David Harrison
Sevenoaks, Kent, UK

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