Although Philip Hammond has cancelled his Mansion House speech tonight as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire, government business will continue as normal. With the Queen’s Speech scheduled for Wednesday, it’s been confirmed that formal EU negotiations will commence on Monday:
‘David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June.’
Now negotiations were always expected to begin next week. But following the surprise election result of a hung Parliament, there had been concern it could be delayed. After all, it is slightly strange to begin negotiations before a Queen’s Speech. What’s more, given the recent changes to the Brexit department’s ministerial team, new ministers will need to learn fast in order to be on top of their briefs for Monday. With many in the Conservative party – including Philip Hammond – using the election result to push for a ‘softer’ Brexit deal, it remains to be seen whether the negotiating position has changed at all.
However, overall what the official start date tells us is how keen the Conservatives are to get back to the business of governing. After a difficult few weeks in politics that have seen the Tories lose their majority and May’s personal rating plummet, the party wants to get back to business as soon as possible. This is both for the good of the country – and the good of the party.