The Brexit Stalemate
The state of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) is in turmoil as British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares for a decisive parliamentary vote. This particular vote will occur on Tuesday and will determine whether or not May’s unpopular plan, and potentially her job, will be saved. The Brexit plan being voted on was negotiated between May and her party and Brussels and if May sees a defeat in the vote it’s a likely possibility that no plan will be in place when the UK leaves the EU on the 29th of March.
May has been quoted as saying, should her plan be voted down, that it would “mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit or leaving the European Union with no deal”. This particular deal is opposed by many and as the Conservatives do not possess a majority in the House of Commons it’s likely the vote will be defeated.
But despite the warnings May has pushed ahead with the vote imploring her own party and opposing parties to agree to the deal so the UK isn’t left in uncharted waters when they leave the EU.
The deal itself is criticized by both EU bureaucrats and pro-EU politicians as according to them it creates barriers between the UK and the EU and leaves many potentially important future details undecided. Even some on the pro-Brexit side are criticizing the deal claiming it keeps the UK far too close to the EU.
One particular aspect of the deal that’s caught the eyes of many on the pro-Brexit side is what’s referred to as the ‘backstop’ provision within the Brexit deal. This particular provision is aimed at guaranteeing, post-Brexit, that an open border exists between Ireland (who remains a part of the EU) and Northern Ireland.
However, critics have argued that this provision could lead to the UK being tied to the EU indefinitely and even prevent new trade deals. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, has argued strongly against the backstop provision and for a new Brexit deal to be formed.
Should the deal go through, despite the fact many have objections with it, it will most likely lead to a myriad of other issues but it will also give the UK direction and guidance in the next few months and post-Brexit. But, should the deal be voted down, it’s not clear what would happen.
There are several likely scenarios, the first is that May would be forced to return to Brussels and attempt to renegotiate the deal despite the fact that EU leaders have stated that there will be no amendments or changes to the deal as its final. And the second is that May will call for a general election in an attempt to garner more support and seats within Parliament.
The idea of another vote on the entire idea of the UK leaving is also being pushed by some, although the government has stated that they are strongly opposed to another referendum. In the last few days both pro-Brexit and pro-EU protestors have come out in their thousands to show their support and opposition. The Brexit referendum despite being more than 2 years old is still a deeply divisive issue within the country.
The vote on Tuesday will most likely see May’s deal defeated and leave the government with few options for the future but it may see the deal accepted and enacted, potentially seeing other problems arise. Another likely possibility is that the PM may delay the vote in an attempt to buy herself more time. Either way, the deeply divisive nature of Brexit won’t change anytime soon as the country will most likely remain split between those who are pro-Leave and those who are pro-Remain.