Britain Sees Brexit’s Threats More Clearly

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Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain leaving 10 Downing Street in London last week.

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Matt Dunham/Associated Press

It is now more than a year since the British voted to leave the European Union and nearly four months since Prime Minister Theresa May formally started the two-year clock to negotiate the divorce, and so far the only results are increasingly gloomy prognoses for Britain.

Mrs. May, her party and her standing weakened in a general election last month, has had trouble controlling feuds within her government; banks are considering leaving London; investors are wary; and a campaign to reverse course is gaining momentum. A letter in The Financial Times on Friday signed by, among others, Lord Kerr, a former ambassador to the United States and to the union, called for a halt to Brexit, saying that the “disastrous consequences” were becoming clearer by the day.

Friday also brought the news that Bank of America had chosen Dublin as its future European Union hub, joining Citigroup and others in making contingency plans for the day when London loses the “passporting” privileges under which a lender licensed in one E.U. state can work in all. Businesses are equally nervous that leaving the European customs union would disrupt supply chains.

With grandees in Mrs. May’s Conservative Party sensing vulnerability, the knives are out, with people in or close to the party denouncing one another as “pirates,” “lazy as a toad” or “government morons.” The infighting has heightened the sense that the government lacks a coherent strategy, while making it even more difficult for it to shape one.

Officially, Mrs. May is still seeking a clean break with the bloc, one that emphasizes full British control of immigration and the courts more than the interests of the economy….

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