LONDON — For two years, ever since Britain voted to leave the European Union and set off on an uncharted course, the captains steering Brexit have been trumpeting the future glories of “Global Britain,” a swashbuckling, entrepreneurial adventure leading to lucrative free-trade deals around the world.
The Brexit boosters envisioned a 21st-century Empire 2.0, with “a proud island nation” trading with allies in the “Anglosphere” — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and, the best prize of all, the United States.
Not so fast, it turns out.
In yet another remarkable reversal for Prime Minister Theresa May, members of her own Conservative Party are expressing doubt that her withdrawal agreement with the E.U. allows Britain to quickly — or possibly ever — strike bespoke free-trade deals outside the European orbit.