Global Insight: Dangers in Brexit push

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Pushing ahead with Brexit despite apparent illegalities could have dire consequences for British politics, will create difficulties for New Zealand exporters and will weaken the international rule of law, Prof Robert Patman claims.

New Zealand needs to speak up on the issue, the international relations specialist says.

On Thursday, the European Union agreed to give the United Kingdom until the end of October to finalise a deal to leave the EU. To date, the UK parliament has repeatedly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans.

She now hopes to be able to reach a compromise agreement with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But University of Otago's Prof Patman says the danger for both sides is that trying to find a compromise could fracture their parties.

He says New Zealand exporters would find Brexit disruptive. Many businesses would likely flag the UK and choose to focus their limited resources on the bigger EU market.

Global awareness was growing of failings in the 2016 Brexit referendum, including suggestions of interference by Russia and campaign finance irregularities that might have swayed the referendum outcome, Prof Patman said. British politicians, however, seemed determined to ignore it.

"It seems to be saying that leading figures in the British government are saying cheating is okay. And that's not acceptable,'' Prof Patman said.

He is continuing to urge the New Zealand government to raise the issue.

"As the awful events of Christchurch reminded us four weeks ago, we are interconnected with the rest of the world and it is important that we play our part in trying to speak out on such issues.''


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