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Theresa May’s two-year Brexit to-do list

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London
Reuters/Neil Hall
So much to do, so little time.
By Jason Karaian
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Brexit talks have officially begun, so leaders in London, Brussels, and beyond will have their work cut out for them. All eyes will be on British prime minister Theresa May in particular, as she tries to negotiate an amicable divorce from the EU within the two-year timeframe set out by the bloc’s rules.

Sources in Whitehall gave Quartz an exclusive peek at the prime minister’s personal schedule.* Needless to say, she plans on being very busy between now and March 2019.

March 29, 2017

  • PM: Nando’s.

March 30, 2017

March 31, 2017

  • EU’s official response to Article 50 is due. (Check ink levels on fax machine.)

April 2017

  • Easter: Revive one of David Cameron’s better ideas—adorable lamb-feeding photoshoot.
  • St George’s Day: Slip in miscellaneous patriotic references during Prime Minister’s Questions. Brussels=dragon?

May 2017

  • Buy presents for victor of French presidential election: Tony Blair’s My Journey for Macron; English sparkling wine if it’s Le Pen; very, very dry roast beef for Fillon.

June 2017

  • King of Spain’s state visit. Practice key phrase: “Mi casa es su casa, pero no se quede por mucho tiempo.

July 2017

  • G20 summit: Learn how to say “Culturally, Britain is closer to China than it is to Europe” in Mandarin, say it to Xi Jinping, and ask him for a state visit. But don’t get too cocky—focus on trade talks with countries 15-20 first. Get selfie with Trudeau.
  • Time for “hip-hoplomacy”: Skepta is playing the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, and if rumors of Drake appearance are true, can ask him about a free-trade deal with Canada. Bond by showing him the selfie.

August 2017

September 2017

  • After German federal election, send Merkel a note with congratulations/commiserations [delete as necessary].

October 2017

  • Schedule emergency meeting with Queen ahead of Trump state visit.

November 2017

  • Trump state visit postponement planning.
  • St. Andrew’s Day: Set out-of-office message for all internal correspondence from “Sturgeon, Nicola.”

December 2017

  • Probably an Italian election sometime around now.
  • Take back control… of No. 10’s thermostat. Such a drafty old place!

January 2018

  • “Me” time.

February 2018

  • Winter Olympics in South Korea—good opportunity to talk trade. Emphasise post-Brexit Britain’s accommodating attitude towards exploding electronics. (And will Xi Jinping be there? If so, learn how to say “state visit” in Mandarin.)

March 2018

  • Halfway point of two-year Brexit negotiation timeline. Exchange pounds for euros, just in case.

April 2018

  • Given the rising rates environment, rotate out of high-grade credit into high-beta equities. Consider 5s10s EUR swap curve steepener. Close 20-strike puts in Snap Inc shares. Buy rubles. Or gold. Probably gold.

May 2018

  • Push back Trump state visit.
  • Consider getting a dog? Tell staff to research breeds according to these traits (in order): British, tenacious, cuddly.

June 2018

  • World Cup begins. Schedule meetings during group stages only because, you know, England. (China is really bad at football, right? Check if Xi Jinping going anyway.)

July 2018

  • Spend a day at the England-India cricket match—our likely loss will put Indian trade reps in a good mood. Together, we can hit tariffs and non-tariff barriers for six!

August 2018

  • Burning Man.

September 2018

  • Brief producers of “Great British Bake Off” finale on patriotic cake and pastry themes. Emphasise importance of scone in national identity, etc.

October 2018

  • Unofficial deadline to wrap up deal so various parliaments can vote on it by two-year deadline.
  • Buy yen. And more gold.

November 2018

  • Check on status of state visit to Beijing. Some ancient Chinese ceramics from the British Museum might help sweeten the deal.

December 2018

  • Delay Trump (or maybe Pence?) state visit.
  • Winter mini-break: Check currency market before deciding on Swiss Alps v. Sussex.

January 2019

  • Probably another Italian election sometime around now.

February 2019

  • Final (?) booze cruise to Calais for duty-free champagne.
  • Ask Sergio, that barista at Pret, whether he knows anyone at the Spanish trade delegation.

March 28, 2019

March 29, 2019

  • Brexit day! 👋

March 30, 2019

  • Pilates.

* They didn’t, really. With additional sleuthing by Kabir Chibber, Nikhil Sonnad, and Cassie Werber.

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