Legal Business

What did Brussels ever do for us? The lawyerly view on Brexit

Classicists holding to the maxim ‘first, do no harm’ will be looking in dismay at the debate on the UK leaving the EU. Because – perhaps less than six months ahead of the historic vote over the UK quitting the EU – it is still entirely unclear what the public will be voting for as the exit option.

There are four relatively mainstream paths in the event of Brexit, all fraught with challenges and uncertainty, as we address in this month’s Insight with Herbert Smith Freehills. But at heart, the out campaign is split between two camps: the protectionist conservatives looking to clamp down on immigration and reclaim sovereignty and the free marketeers dreaming of casting off the dead hand of Brussels diktat to reboot Britain as Singapore x 10. Not only are both positions in fundamental conflict but neither seems politically realistic, especially given that British regulation is generally as restrictive as EU equivalents.