Hasta Mañana, Brexit

Brexit is scheduled to happen in less than 60 days time, but we seem no closer to a deal than we were two years ago. The UK government and parliament have once again placed their trust in tomorrow.

“I thought we were the ones with the ‘mañana’ attitude”Spanish Commenter

Theresa May’s failure to win the approval of parliament for her withdrawal agreement on January 16th means that, two years after article 50 was invoked and with less than 60 days until the official leave date, we’re still no closer to a viable Brexit.

May postponed the original vote in December in a hopeless attempt to tweak the deal and win support, but to no avail. In January it was rejected resoundingly in the largest defeat a government has seen in living memory.

In normal circumstances this would lead to a resignation, but May carried on, surviving Jeremy Corbyn’s no-confidence vote on the day following her commons defeat. The question on everyone’s lips now is – what next?

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At the time of writing, there appear to be three main options:

No Deal
This is the default option if March 29th is reached without the approval of a withdrawal agreement. The majority of the UK parliament are against this outcome, but an influential group of Conservatives still support it – along with a sizable sector of the public who just want the whole thing over with.
The consequences of a no-deal exit are likely to be drastic, however and there is a strong will to avoid this outcome at all costs.

New Deal
At the time of writing, May has stated her intention to seek new concessions from the EU and work with opposition parties to steer an agreement through parliament. Currently, however, this looks optimistic. The EU are adamant that negotiations are over, and Labour have their own demands that May will find hard to sell to her own party.

Extend Article 50
This would buy time for further negotiations and, perhaps, a new agreement. However, it would not be received well by the EU and the general public would surely express their impatience at kicking the can further down the street.

Second Referendum
Neither of the main parties support a second referendum, and it is hard to agree which options would be presented to the public. It is possible that a deal passed in parliament may then be offered to the public for approval, but we’re a long way from that scenario.

See page 12 for further Brexit related news.