Britain Votes To Delay Brexit After Chaotic Week In Parliament. Here’s What That Means

As earthquakes go in current British politics, this one was the most important. Throughout three successive evenings, lawmakers handed down three scathing defeats to Prime Minister Theresa Could. The size of the early harm was unquantifiable, there was no instant plan for methods to rebuild, and no one knew how harmful the aftershocks could be.

However two issues have been clear. After two years of tortuous negotiations with the E.U., the U.Ok. was again to sq. one. And, in a turning level, lawmakers had wrestled management over the Brexit course of out of the arms of Could’s authorities.

The occasions performed out in three phases. First, on Tuesday, lawmakers rejected the deal Could had spent two years negotiating with the European Union. By doing so, they set Britain on target to crash out of the E.U. on its scheduled exit date, March 29, with out a deal.

However then, on Wednesday, lawmakers voted to rule out such a “no deal” Brexit. Confusingly, that vote was not binding, and didn’t change the truth that Britain is legally certain to go away on March 29 if no deal has by then been agreed by Parliament.

So, to undo that paradox, lawmakers instructed Could on Thursday to request the E.U. to postpone Britain’s exit date. The order, by a margin of 412 votes to 202, was a humiliation for Could, who had been steadfast in her rhetoric till Wednesday that Britain would go away on March 29. And it meant that E.U. member state governments now maintain the facility to permit the U.Ok. to postpone its departure, or power a no-deal Brexit.

With simply 15 days to go earlier than Brexit, right here’s what to learn about what might occur subsequent.

Will Brexit occur on March 29?

Most likely not, however there are a number of choices. Maybe the most certainly is that E.U. member states settle for Could’s request for an extension, and Britain’s exit date is postponed till June 30. (Could will seemingly make the request for an extension on the upcoming E.U. council assembly on March 21.)

But when only one E.U. member state vetoes Could’s request to postpone Brexit, then Britain legally should depart on March 29. Within the case a rustic chooses to veto, there are three choices. The best is that Britain leaves on March 29 with out a deal.

However there are but extra prospects. Staring down a no-deal Brexit, U.Ok. lawmakers might both vote to just accept Could’s deal (or a barely modified model of it) and depart the E.U. with that deal; or they may maintain a vote to revoke Article 50 (the authorized instrument permitting Britain to go away the E.U.) and stay a member state — in different phrases, lawmakers might cancel Brexit.

Nonetheless extra complexity arises from the truth that the E.U. would possibly select to grant an extension, however solely a protracted one, within the order of a 12 months or extra. Lawmakers within the U.Ok. have made clear {that a} brief extension, of months, is extra palatable. Confronted with a selection between a protracted extension and a no-deal Brexit, there isn’t any predicting what lawmakers or the federal government would possibly select to do.

How is Theresa Should Prime Minister?

Regardless of main a divided nation, a divided occasion, and even a divided cupboard, someway Could has remained prime minister since 2016. How has she received this far?

A part of the reply lies in the truth that no one needs the job of ending off the Brexit negotiations. Many members of her occasion covet the position of Prime Minister, however would favor for Could to see out the negotiations after which step down. Could calmed probably the most strident voices calling for her resignation when, in December, she pledged to step down earlier than the subsequent election, which is at present scheduled for 2022.

However it’s unclear whether or not she is going to be capable to keep in her position amid the present chaos. She is secure from an inner occasion problem, having narrowly gained one in December, however she might nonetheless be ousted as Prime Minister both by her cupboard resigning en masse, making her place untenable, or opposition events calling and passing a vote of no confidence within the authorities.

Can Britain cancel Brexit?

Sure. In December, the European court docket of justice dominated that the U.Ok. might unilaterally revoke Article 50 earlier than March 29, thus cancelling the Brexit course of, permitting Britain to stay a member of the European Union on its present phrases.

May there nonetheless be a second Brexit referendum?

Perhaps. Lawmakers rejected a movement on Thursday to carry a second referendum by 334 votes to 85. Nonetheless, the opposition Labour Occasion indicated it might change its thoughts and instruct its 229 lawmakers to vote for one (it instructed them to abstain on Thursday). The Folks’s Vote marketing campaign, a cross-party group calling for a second referendum, additionally instructed its members to abstain, suggesting that Thursday was not the suitable time — however that one other vote would occur in the end.

“I reiterate our help for a public vote, not as political level scoring, however as a sensible choice to interrupt the impasse,” mentioned the Labour Occasion chief Jeremy Corbyn after the results of Thursday’s votes got here by way of.

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