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ARP Observations

Brexit - What Now?

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See all articlesThe Absolute Return Letter

Having just been defeated in Parliament, Theresa May has only a few days now to sketch out plan B, which she must present to Parliament by Monday the 21st January. The big question is therefore: What will happen next?

Having just been defeated in Parliament, Theresa May has only a few days now to sketch out plan B, which she must present to Parliament by Monday the 21st January. In the meantime, the rest of the World can only speculate. Just one indication so far: She has said that time is now ripe for bipartisan cooperation, and that she wants to establish a working group, aiming to seek cross-party support for plan B. One wonders if she shouldn’t have done that a long time ago?

She (and many others) might be missing a crucial point, though. Many in this country behave like Brexit is a tombola where you can pick your prize from all shelves if you win, but that is not exactly how the EU works. During the Brexit negotiations, on one side of the table you had the UK. On the other side of the table, you had no fewer than 27 countries. According to informed sources of mine, it took an extraordinary effort to get all 27 to support the deal that has just been voted down in Westminster, and to improve that deal will be next to impossible. Some countries already believe the UK got away with murder.

On the other hand, according to another source of mine (a Westminster insider), there is little appetite amongst MPs for a hard Brexit, so something will have to give. The most likely to yield first is the scheduled exit date – the 29th March – which will most likely be delayed now. Whether it all ends with a second referendum (a People’s Vote as many like to call it) is too early to say.

There is no question that the idea of a second referendum is gaining momentum, but such an outcome very much depends on whether Theresa May can hold on to power. And to all those Brexiteers who feel betrayed if we end up with a second referendum, all I can say is: “Join the club! We Remainers have felt betrayed for the last 2 ½ years by a bunch of politicians who lied through their teeth to make their dream happen”.

About the Author

Niels Clemen Jensen founded Absolute Return Partners in 2002 and is Chief Investment Officer. He has over 30 years of investment banking and investment management experience and is author of The Absolute Return Letter.

In 2018, Harriman House published The End of Indexing, Niels' first book.