Theresa May did it again! The British Parliament rejected the agreement proposed by her with the European Union, but at the same time also excluded an exit without agreement. The vote? 312 votes in favour and 308 against an amendment that asks the government to exclude in all circumstances and at any time the hypothesis of the No Deal.
Without agreement and without disagreement, which routes remain? Few and none that Theresa May really likes. The prime minister inevitably comes out defeated because she had staked everything on the dichotomy rejected by the parliament: either the agreement or the exit without. Even some of her ministers voted to eliminate the No Deal despite the fact that she had asked to do the opposite.
The hypothesis that now seems closest is that of an extension of Brexit. Not the UK’s farewell to the EU at midnight on March 29th, but months later. How many months is difficult to decide because in May there are the European elections and if the UK were still in the union its citizens should vote. It would be a limited extension and should still have the green light for the EU, the unanimity of all 27 countries. This is also difficult, but nobody wants the responsibility of a farewell without commercial agreements and for the displacement and rights of people.
May herself filed a motion in Parliament to extend the March 29th deadline to support her agreement. The slippage could be a few months or reach two years when everything would remain as it is today. Perhaps an attempt to bring the Eurosceptics to the agreement before the European Council on March 21st to avoid delaying and watering down Brexit. The agreement of May is good for the EU and would be even better than the one hypothesised by the Labour party, but the British Parliament, as it is composed, will never vote.
The vote of today, March 14th is that on the request or not to postpone the Brexit beyond the original deadline of March 29th, 2019. Delay, is the clearest option on the table. If this vote is not successful, the Hard Brexit would be near and London has already prepared itself by eliminating the duties on almost 90% of the products.
Since the days following the first, the hypothesis of a second referendum has been raised to overturn the choice of Brexit. According to former prime minister Tony Blair, this plan does not have a majority in Parliament. Also difficult to decide: to stay in the EU against the May agreement or against the No Deal?
A further twist could be the convening of new elections in the UK as Theresa May’s power has clay bases and Parliament does not have the numbers to make a decision. The election route is the one requested by the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party. But we should see the result of the elections. The pro-EU Labour party does not necessarily win and conservatives could be led by a Eurosceptic like Boris Johnson. If no one had the majority by himself the problem would be the same again.