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Brexit: May’s Remaining Options for Leaving

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 pm, April 2nd, 2019 - 28 comments
Categories: International, Jeremy Corbyn, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

British PM Theresa May will meet with her cabinet overnight, our time. At the end of that meeting, she will let the long suffering public know which of five politically unpalatable Brexit options the Tories have decided is the least worst.

This follows another calamitous day in Parliament, in which two potential ways out of the morass were narrowly defeated in the house and another senior Tory quit the party.

April 12 is the date on which the UK is scheduled to leave the EU without a deal. An extension is still possible, but the EU has indicated it would only allow more time if May changes direction.

Let’s have a look at Theresa May’s remaining options.

May’s Deal:

Theresa May’s preferred withdrawal agreement has been rejected three times so far, admittedly by decreasing margins, (230, 149 and 58 votes).  However, 30 MPs would need to switch sides to get the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal over the parliamentary line, which seems unlikely.

Brexit Plan B:

A group of MPs from nearly all parties are trying to build a majority for an alternative, softer Brexit, with Britain remaining in a customs union or the EU’s single market. One of the votes narrowly rejected today was a proposal to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, while the single market option sis less popular.

May would need Labour votes to implement this kind of soft Brexit. John Major, the former Tory prime minister, has urged talks on forming a national unity government with Labour to do this. But such a coalition would almost certainly divide the Tory party in a way that might doom them as a future electoral force.

Snap Election:

PM May would need a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons to dissolve parliament, which could be engineered either as a positive vote for a snap election or as a vote of no confidence in her own Government.

However, would all Tory MPs support a fresh election? Would Labour? And what would happen if the election result is the same Parliamentary make up?

And there is, of course, the possibility most dreaded by the right; Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister while the Tories disintegrate.

No-deal Brexit:

After Mrs May’s deal was rejected again on Friday, the European Commission said that it was ready for a No Deal crash out at midnight on April 12. The problem is that Britain is definitely not ready for that outcome.

Second Brexit Referendum:

A second referendum is possible, but unlikely, despite a million or more Brits marching in support of a fresh vote just days ago. However, a weaker version of a re-run ballot is also being mooted. This would be a ‘confirmatory referendum’ on an agreed Brexit deal; a Yes/No vote.

There are many in the Tories who would swallow that dead rat rather than have a snap election.

So those are the five choices that might lead to Brexit.

Oh, there is one more option, of course.

May could just resign:

Well, why not? This was never a fight of Theresa May’s making. She must know that her political obituaries are being written already, particularly after offering to resign if Parliament agreed to back her deal.

Deal or no deal, she’ll be resigning in a few short weeks, so why bother with what the EU are now cheerfully call a shitshow?

Why not just quit and leave Brexit to Boris Johnson to royally bugger up?

Her lasting legacy could be that she finally gave Britain what it wanted; her resignation.

UPDATE: Theresa May has called on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to meet to discuss a cross party approach. In reality, that means trying to find a compromise that most of Labour and a majority of the Tories can support.

It’s a big ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 comments on “Brexit: May’s Remaining Options for Leaving”

  1. alwyn 1

    You have left out one other option.
    Britain can simply advise the EU that it is revoking its Article 50 notification.
    Britain will then remain in the EU.

    I realise it is unlikely, and she would pretty much have to put her resignation as PM in about 10 seconds after doing it, but I don’t see that Parliament could do anything about it once she had withdrawn the notification.
    She should simply quote 18th Century British Statesman Edmund Burke when saying that the Referendum will be ignored..

    “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

    It would also be, at least in my opinion, the best result for Britain as a whole, and bugger what it does to the Conservative and Labour Parties.

    • aj 1.1

      That would inflict a prolonged period of civil disorder in the UK that would make the yellow vests look timid. Devil, deep blue sea.

      • Dukeofurl 1.1.1

        No . Britain isnt France. They were ‘rioting’ over petrol price increases….its part of their culture. The French even have long had a paramilitary gendarmerie in addition to the usual police forces because of the history of civil unrest, and often violent repression.

        The original idea was to exclude the Commons from the Brexit process for exactly the reasons we have seen.
        Always forgotten is the Conservatives are a minority government anyway , reliant on DUP support from their 10 seats to pass anything

    • mikesh 1.2

      This assumes the EU would accept a revocation. And if it did, would it insist on Britain accepting further terms, like abandoning the pound.

      • alwyn 1.2.1

        They have no choice but to accept. That was a ruling from the EU’s highest Court.
        Whether it has to be voted on by Parliament is not so clear.

        “No approval from any EU institution or member state is needed – the ability to revoke Article 50 is the departing member state’s alone. ”

        “The ECJ says the decision to withdraw the notification has to be made in line with the country’s “own national constitutional requirements” – whatever they may be.”

        “Given the UK Supreme Court ruled that Article 50 could only be triggered with a vote of parliament, it is quite likely that it would need to be revoked by a vote of parliament.”

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-cancel-stop-revoke-article-50-explained-remain-stay-eu-latest-parliament-theresa-may-a8690886.html

        So, if Britain revokes their Section 50 statement they go back to the status quo.
        If they withdraw and later apply to rejoin I would be fairly sure they would have to adopt the Euro.

    • cleangreen 1.3

      EU is another ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’

      So we should just let the UK decide after it automatically crashes out of the EU on 12th April

      Then again, UK can stand on it’s ‘own two feet’- as the rest of the’ British Commonwealth’ had to do since January 1973 when UK signed up to the EU.

  2. Ad 2

    Anything except an election.

    Labour are tanking – faster than Conservatives.

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      Labour are tanking – faster than Conservatives.

      Okay, I bite – what makes you think so?? This site lists the latest polls: https://www.markpack.org.uk/155623/voting-intention-opinion-poll-scorecard/

      It gives no overall average, but the Conservative spread is 41%-32%, and Labour 41%-23%. This one puts both on 33%: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

      Wikipedia’s page shows the Observer also has a tie: 35% each. Only the Mail puts Labour ahead, all others show varying leads for the Conservatives.

      Seems to me the variation is so great that polling can’t function as credible indicator…

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        It’s also an FPP system, remember. That’s in the tories’ favour.

        • Dennis Frank 2.1.2.1

          It shows that you are correct. The tanking began at the start of February. My guess it is due to an increasing perception that Labour is refusing to front with a solution to the Brexit problem.

          When the government keeps failing, folks expect the opposition to loom as a viable replacement. Labour’s strategy appears to be to wait until the govt failure is complete. That stance is alienating some voters.

          • Ad 2.1.2.1.1

            Just boils my blood to think of what Labour’s best Prime Minister Clement Attlee would have made of this.

            Rack up Attlee’s decisiveness against that weak feckless fossil Corbyn and you don’t get the bold policy leadership that will convince the million-strong marchers to throng to demand a change to a Labour government.

            • Dennis Frank 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Hard to disagree, but I’m inclined to reserve judgment. Corbyn is in a tricky situation. If the way forward was obvious, I suspect he would advocate it.

              I’ve long been an advocate of leadership (I’ve mentioned that here sometimes in respect of persuading the Greens to adopt it). Some are born leaders, some grow into it, but most are incapable. I suspect ole Jeremy is in the middle category. Feeling his way forward. There’s a time a-comin’ when he must seize the moment and be decisive in taking the initiative.

              • RedLogix

                Corbyn simply has had no good options available to him until now. May has used up all her time and now has to work with Labour. That only happened last night.

                If, and that is a fairly wobbly if, he can get Labour to unite under a compromise Brexit, one that allows Britain to control the movement of people, while continuing to do business with Europe … this will likely change everything for him.

                Consider something similar here around the highly contentious Greens reform S59 Reform. The country was heavily divided on this, and Clark’s govt was burning up political capital.

                In one deft and perfectly timed move Key took his party into supporting it (it was the right thing to do anyway) and his political fortunes rose steadily from that point on.

                • Dukeofurl

                  Good points.
                  However doesnt have to get labour to unite- they have deep divisions too – only has to give May a majority.

        • Dukeofurl 2.1.2.2

          National ‘Poll lines’ arent any use for FPP. Ask Clinton about that one.

          Support varies enormously between labour , tories through out the country.

          last UK election should have removed any usefulness of national polls.
          Tories went up 5.5% but lost net 13 seats ( gained 20 but lost 33 , an even more variable result)

  3. Chris T 3

    It would be humorous if there was an election watching the rest of the idiots being forced to actually have to put forward alternatives.

  4. tc 4

    A clusterf&$k created by the Tories they can’t resolve and showing their country how unfit to rule the current batch of ruling class elites are.

    Like watching a family business being destroyed by infighting, egos, outside influences on key family members and megalomaniac agendas.

    All by the generation that’s born into growth, opportunity and had it all handed to them from the cradle despite how incompetent they appeared….yes Boris incompetent.

    Ladies and gentleman these are your world leaders please put your hands together.

    Like trump they’re being lampooned and become the butt of jokes because in terms of their role they are simply a joke. One that’s on the UK folks, they’ll be fine as always.

  5. mikesh 5

    There seems to be a faction within the Conservative Party that favoured leaving. It was to keep this lot quiet that they held the referendum, which of course they expected to be won by the Remainers.

    Labour has not yet, it appears, woken up to the fact that leaving is actually desirable, though of course the country will have to wear her the economic storm that leaving will create.

    • Dukeofurl 5.1

      Wasnt a faction of the conservatives – it became a separate party UKIP.

      Referendum results showed Remain vote was lowest in regions outside London, Scotland , Northern Ireland,
      The overall England result was 46.6% remain compared to UK being 48.8%

      Refer to detailed figures and youll see how unpopular Remain was
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_2016_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum#Returns_from_United_Kingdom_major_cities

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        I just finished reading “Rebel: How to Overthrow the Emerging Oligarchy” by Douglas Carswell. Amazon’s profile of the book contains this excerpt:

        “”Politics,” he writes, “is a cartel. Like the economy, it is rigged in the interests of a few.” This leaves our liberal, democratic order – the mechanism that has allowed a historically unprecedented proportion of humanity to flourish – facing a twin assault: oligarchs on the one hand, radical populists on the other.”

        “Rebel puts forward a bold new thesis: we are not the first to face such a threat. Oligarchic cartels have clogged the arteries of nations and economies throughout history, triggering radical insurgencies in protest. But all too often the radicals have strengthened the hand of the oligarchs: the Roman, Venetian and Dutch republics all succumbed to cartels. “Anti-oligarch radicals,” the author notes, “have often made the oligarchs seem the more attractive option.” So, too, today, he suggests.”

        He knows his stuff. He “attended King’s College London, receiving a master’s degree in British imperial history” according to Wikipedia. Imperial historians are quite thin on the ground nowadays. He has some street cred as anti-establishment rebel: “In April 2008, Carswell was reported to be launching plans for Speaker Michael Martin to be removed after the 2010 general election, saying that the Speaker had ‘demonstrated that he is not the man to oversee the vital job of restoring faith in Westminster politics’. Martin later became the first Speaker in 314 years to resign”.

        “In December 2009, Carswell tabled a Bill in the House of Commons calling for a public referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The Daily Telegraph nominated him a Briton of the Year 2009, and Spectator readers voted him their choice as Parliamentarian of the Year in the same year.”

        Since Britain now suffers continuous political quakes as a result of his decade-old initiative, I suspect history will deem him a key mover & shaker. Yet he’s no longer in parliament! He jumped the Tory ship, got re-elected under the UKIP brand. In the 2015 general election “Carswell won UKIP’s only seat”. He left UKIP two years ago. Been there, done that!

        So there’s the relevance to your comment. His book is surprisingly readable, thoughtful, and reveals that, unlike Farage, he’s genuinely progressive. Radical? Only in respect of Tory congenital arch-conservatism.

      • Phil 5.1.2

        …you’ll see how unpopular Remain was

        51.9% vs 48.1% on a 72% turnout… doesn’t really support the thesis of “how unpopular”

        Remain vote highest in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland… now, do you think that might be because they’re the ones with the most tangible grasp of what the practical cost of leaving would be?

        • Dukeofurl 5.1.2.1

          And how often in other European countries have have versions of the EU treaties lost the popular vote, and yet ended up being ignored.
          Norway rejected the EU, but the government still went ahead with ‘in Europe’ but not quite in the EU.
          The Brits have been on a pathway for leaving the EU ever since they refused fuller integration…
          Keeping pound and not adopting the Euro – was supposed to be a disater and didnt happen
          Not adopting Schengen passport free borders, wasnt that supposed to lead to major problems as well.

          A lot of cross european bodies existed before the EU and would have suited smaller blocs .

  6. CHCoff 6

    Where there is arrogance, there is a way….or not.

  7. aj 7

    ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’ screened on UKTV on Monday night. Excellent background doco drama.

    Excerpt from …. http://theconversation.com/brexit-the-uncivil-war-what-it-told-us-and-what-it-didnt-109532

    “The programme makes clear that this appeal to the gut and disdain for evidence was all show. Ironically, behind the scenes it was a campaign run with ruthless adherence to “empirical evidence” and data as to how to get votes. It was a rigidly scientific anti-science movement”

    “The Uncivil War was an engaging story, thrillingly told, of how the “underdog” Leave campaign, driven by a group of backroom boys, not only caught up with the establishment-backed Remain side, but captured the discussion and went on to win the popular vote. It did this partly through “lobbing grenades” of incendiary but baseless argument – such as the suggestion that Turkish membership was imminent. Of course, it wasn’t – and Gove expressed regret in 2018 as to how this claim was made. This campaign of misinformation left the Remain camp constantly on the back foot”

  8. SPC 8

    MPs have voted by a majority of one 313-312 to force the prime minister to ask for an extension to the Brexit process, in a bid to avoid any no-deal scenario.

    The bill, put forward by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, was passed by the Commons in just one day.

    However, it will need to be approved by the Lords before it becomes law. It would also still be for the EU to decide whether to grant any extension.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47809717

    Team Tory Brexit not happy, further talks between May and Corbyn might come with a time out to vent arrangement for some of her caucus.

    • SPC 8.1

      In a day of fine margins –

      a vote in the House of Commons has been defeated by one vote after the Speaker John Bercow cast the deciding ballot.

      MPs were voting on a motion to hold more indicative votes on alternative plans for Brexit but the result was tied with 310 votes for and 310 against.

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