Brexit: A Cliff Edge or a Small Bump in the Road?

Whyman, Philip B orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3926-1019 (2018) Brexit: A Cliff Edge or a Small Bump in the Road? The Political Quarterly . ISSN 0032-3179

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It is becoming increasingly accepted, not least by the Prime Minister and opposition leadership, that the negotiation of a comprehensive trade relationship with the EU is necessary to prevent the UK economy falling off a ‘cliff edge’. This concern is shaping the UK’s strategy towards negotiations with the EU and has provided at least part of the motivation for the UK to consider requesting a transition period to facilitate the Brexit process. But how accurate are these fears? What evidence is there for the existence of a ‘cliff edge’? How disastrous would it be for the UK to revert to trading with the EU on the same basis as most other countries in the world, namely according to World Trade Organisation rules? This paper seeks to address these issues and it highlights a number of implications for policy makers which flow from understanding the available evidence a little more clearly.

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