News and Events

Brexit, pursued by a bear

“Let boors and franklins say it, I'll swear it”
― William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

In advance of the publication of their manifesto, Theresa May has unveiled an initial list of Conservative employment policies. Most strikingly, she has made a guarantee that European Union employment rights will be protected in the Brexit process. This is the first time that such a guarantee has been made; prior to this, many commentators have guessed as to what Brexit means for employment law but, in truth, no one knows what the outcome will be, never mind how or when it will happen.

The UK has implemented many laws which were prompted and inspired by European Union Law. A number of family friendly rights, the working time regulations, and discrimination legislation were brought in because of the EU and there were concerns amongst some as to whether Brexit would result in the loss of some of these rights. This writer has no such concerns however; it would be political suicide for a party to ask for election on a pledge to worsen rights for workers.

Regardless as to whether or not you take comfort in Mrs May’s ‘guarantee’, we all have different attitudes towards Brexit. Taking Shakespeare as inspiration, you may fall in to one of the following categories:

  • Are you a Romeo; believing that poison (Brexit) has taken the life of your Juliet (the UK), you give up instead of just waiting a few minutes longer to see what happens;
  • Do you think that Brexit is the bear, pursuing Antigonus (played by the UK) in ‘A Winter’s Tale’, fatally mauling him offstage; or
  • Is Brexit the bastard son Don Juan in ‘Much ado about nothing’; just when it seems like all hope is gone, Brexit is unmasked as being just another tyrant and everything works out for the UK in the end?

If Brexit were a Shakespeare play, what do you think it would be? For a discussion on the works of the Bard, or advice on any employment law issue, please email me at, or call our Employment Team on 01908 660966 or 01604 828282.