Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
27 July 2017

Why rows over a possible Brexit transition deal are far from over

Government policies are a bit like London buses – another will be along soon.

By Stephen Bush

Good news! Amber Rudd has said there will be “no cliff edge” when Britain leaves the EU in an article for the FT. Bad news! Brandon Lewis, the minister of state for immigration, has told the Today programme that freedom of movement will end on 31 March 2019 when the Article 50 process reaches its end, which effectively rules out any transition deal.

Government policy is a bit like a bus in London: there’s no point getting too het up about this one, as another will be along in a minute or so. In this instance, the division may say more about the difficulties of live radio than anything else – the consensus in the government is that there will be a transition period, with the disagreement over length.  

Other disagreements, including this week’s row over chlorinated chicken, run deeper. The relief of the recess for the government is that Conservative MPs can’t get together and plot, and ministers can take vital foreign trips without the risk of a tricky vote in the Commons. But it also means that deciding lines to take is harder, and that the PM is both away and weakened means that final decisions take longer to reach.

When the subject of the row is the condition of poultry in the height of summer, that doesn’t matter so much. When it’s high policy and everyone is paying attention, it matters a great deal.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
How to navigate the modern cyber-threat landscape
Supporting customers through the cost of living crisis
Data on cloud will change the way you interact with the government