Call 01279 215580

How To Deal With A Brexit Negotiation Crisis

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

Oh dear, we now have a situation where the government is split and does not have a plan for negotiating Brexit - A consultant has observed(written and had leaked) that Whitehall is struggling to cope with the scale of work generated by the Brexit vote and the lack of a common strategy among cabinet ministers.

The note found that departments are working on more than 500 projects related to leaving the EU and may need to hire an extra 30,000 civil servants to deal with the additional burden of work.It identified a tendency by Theresa May to “draw in decisions and settle matters herself” as a strategy that cannot be sustained, and highlighted a split between the three Brexit ministers – Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis – and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and his ally Greg Clark, the business secretary.

There is no doubt that Brexit does pose unique challenges for the country but any mediator who has dealt with a crisis in negotiations will know there is actually a very clear path through this. It centres on all the key competing parties working through the situation and actually trying to assert genuine influence.

Ultimately this involves giving the impression of giving up pre-conceived views of what Brexit should look like and asking questions which focus on the truth.

One of the best negotiators(mediators) I dealt with did not tell(which politicians and lawyers like to do) but asked(even if he knew the answer).

Probably with the exception of Theresa May and possibly Boris Johnson all the Conservative politicians fail this as they are seen to have pre-conceived notions of what Brexit should represent.

Given this if Theresa May was inclined or bothered to come up with an effective UK negotiation strategy she could do worse than get her split Cabinet members in a room and ask the following:

Is there any precedent for Brexit?

Is there a genuine split within the government?

What are the consequences of not resolving this?

What are the possible negotiation strategies that can be adopted?

What are the pros and cons of the five best?

Can we summaries those five best on one sheet paper? (encourage succinctness)

What are the key differences between the best five?

Can we identify what we are trying to achieve in all negotiation strategies?

Do we have to decide now our negotiation strategy now or can we wait?

What is the one most effective thing that we could do to help move our negotiation strategy forward?

These questions above are just a sample list, but the key objective is to get the parties (Government/civil servants/consultants) asking open questions which do not have a preconceived positions and give momentum to going forwards.