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This week will be pivotal to understanding how Brexit will be implemented by Theresa May and the politicians in Westminster. The largest vote ever in British history has been turned into a confusing mess after two and a half years of back-tracking from the pre referendum commitments and promises. Here is a quick guide on what to expect!
First, a reminder of what the people were told pre vote:
After the most doom laden project fear predictions, after foreign interference from Obama stating the UK would be ‘back of the queue’ if she left the EU, and after huge overspend on the Remain campaign, (including a £9m Government leaflet to every house), the British people valued sovereignty above any of the risks. They deemed a complete exit was more important than short to medium term financial risks. The focus on transient economics by the losing side misses the point – those risks were predicted to be WORSE, and people voted to leave in spite of them.
Tuesday 12th March 2019
Prime Minister Theresa May will return to Parliament with whatever amendments to her withdrawal deal she has secured for another “meaningful vote”. Her last meaningful vote suffered the heaviest parliamentary defeat in the history of the British democratic era, and it is hard to see how a new one can pass. The heavily “Remain” weighted parliament are seeing a chance to thwart Brexit, so many of them will not vote for the deal even if it has additional guarantees around the ‘Irish backstop”. Other MPs see anything other than a clean exit as betrayal of the vote, so it is probable that the proposition will be defeated. This will then trigger a second vote…
Wednesday 13th March 2019
If there is a defeat for Theresa May’s ‘deal’ then a vote asking for consent to leave on WTO terms (ie no deal) will be given to Parliament. Leaving on WTO terms and “no deal” on the 29th March has always been the default legal position, and many Leave voters would say that is simply what they voted for. However despite saying ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, and giving absolute assurance that the UK will leave on 29th March, May has recently started to change the language. It is now ‘no Brexit’ rather than ‘no deal’ that Parliament risks, and there appears to be a large majority across Parliament to vote down leaving on no deal / WTO terms. If leaving without a deal is voted down, then this will trigger a third vote…
Thursday 14th March 2019
If Theresa May loses the first two votes, she will then ask for the option to extend article 50 beyond the 29th March 2019, for further time to agree a withdrawal agreement. It is difficult to see how she could survive this as her credibility would be in tatters. over 100 times stating categorically that Britain will leave on the 29th March (see clip below). If this extension is granted, the Government must seek permission of the EU member states to extend, which isn’t guaranteed but highly likely based on the mood music playing from the EU. It is also possible that the EU will make additional financial demands to extend article 50, even for a very short period. The question (should they extend) is what difference does it make if a deal isn’t in sight? The democratic price the country will pay by not leaving on the 29th March will have serious ramifications for both the Labour and Conservative parties, as they will, after nearly 3 years, failed to implement the democratic will of the country. At this point all bets are off – we may see resignations, or we may see the start of a process to stop Brexit altogether.