Brexit Bulletin, 8 October 2018

Oct 08, 2018

Dancing onto the stage and poking fun at the persistent cough and falling wall art that plagued her at last year’s Tory Conference, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that while a no deal would be a bad outcome for both the UK and the EU, the UK is not afraid to leave the EU without an agreement.

Dancing queen

In possibly the most important speech of her political career, Mrs May jived onto the stage to an ABBA favourite, declared that “austerity is over” after eight years of tax increases and spending cuts and vowed to scrap the cap on council borrowing to fix the housing market. 

As expected, Brexit underpinned many aspects of the speech, with the Prime Minister warning that splits over Brexit risked derailing the UK’s departure from the EU.  Interestingly, the UK leader did not namecheck the Chequers proposals during her hour-long speech, instead referring to the UK’s vision of a free trade agreement with the EU, which would allow frictionless trade in goods.  Mrs May reiterated that a no-deal Brexit would be a bad outcome for both sides and said that the introduction of tariffs and checks at the borders would be “hard”.  Although repeating the mantra that the UK will not accept a border in the Irish Sea, the speech offered no vision on how to overcome the issue of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The Tory leader said that at this stage in the negotiations the UK needs to hold its nerve; many livelihoods depend on a strong Brexit and in her opinion, the UK has everything it needs to succeed.

Despite ongoing speculation about her future as UK Prime Minister and with only a few weeks left to reach a Brexit deal, the UK leader appeared to be sticking to her guns about her Brexit plans.  "If we stick together and hold our nerve, I know we can get a deal that delivers for Britain," she said.

The race is on

  • Ahead of a key EU summit next week, UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab travels to Brussels this week to attempt to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks
  • European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker says the chances of reaching a Brexit deal are “growing”
  • Japanese leader says the UK would be welcome “with open arms” into the Pacific Free Trade Pact
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs has launched a series of seminars around the country which will help get Ireland ready for Brexit. Seminars will take place in October in Dublin, Galway and Monaghan.To register for these free events, visit

Read all of our Brexit updates and Back to Brexit Basics on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.