Brexit day passes after politicians fail to find solution

| 30/03/2019 | 2 Comments
Cayman News Service

PM Theresa May in Parliament on Friday

(CNS): When the people of Britain work up Saturday morning, the country was still a member of the European Union, despite ‘Brexit day’ coming and going on Friday. Almost three years after the fateful referendum result in June 2016 and two years after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and started what has turned out to be the failed exit talks, the UK is still intertwined in the more than 40-year partnership. The UK is now in turmoil and the country more divided and angrier than ever, but May has reportedly not ruled out a fourth try to get her failed deal passed in Parliament.

A second referendum, a general election, a ‘no deal’ crash out of Europe, or a much longer extension with the UK taking part in the forthcoming European Parliament elections later this year all remain possibilities.

After May’s Brexit deal was rejected by the House of Commons for the third time on Friday, albeit with a slightly smaller margin, the possibility of that deal ever passing remains remote, though what is going to happen instead is unknown. However, Cabinet members have not ruled out another go with May’s deal.

MPs will continue to try to find a consensus on Monday with more indicative debates and votes, but May said Friday that her deal remains the only way to deliver what the country voted for.

“The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12 April — in just 14 days time,” she said in parliament. “This is not enough time to agree, legislate for and ratify a deal, and yet the House has been clear it will not permit leaving without a deal. And so we will have to agree an alternative way forward.”

The problem is that, like the rest of Britain, Parliament is divided, not along party lines but between leaving the EU and staying, and with those who want to leave divided over how to leave. To prevent what would have been a chaotic crash from the EU yesterday, May had negotiated an extension until the 22 May if she could steer her deal through the House of Commons, or if not until 12 April.

But part of the PM’s deal was voted down again, even after she put her own job on the table in exchange for its support. Nevertheless, the deal fail for the third time due to a combination of MPs who do not really want to leave or at least want to remain as close as possible to the EU, hard-line Brexiteers who do not want a deal, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has not identified what it wants aside from its opposition to treating Northern Ireland differently as a way to avoid any kind of border and upsetting the Good Friday agreement.

Playing on Monty Python’s famous Dead Parrot sketch, one MP said of May’s deal after the vote, “Her deal is no more. It has ceased to exist. It is bereft of life. It rests in peace. It’s a deal that has been nailed to its perch. It’s an ex-parrot, it is an ex-deal.”

So, despite Parliament voting against it, a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely, by default if not design, or the departure from the EU could be delayed indefinitely, which would mean that the government fails to deliver on the referendum result.

Businesses across the UK have been worried for some time about a no-deal exit, but by Friday they appeared to be in a full state of panic. Josh Hardie, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry told the UK press, “All eyes are now on Monday to discover what Parliament is for… the UK’s reputation, people’s jobs and livelihoods are at stake. No-deal is two weeks away.”

Over a million remainers and those supporting a new referendum to find a way to stay in Europe took to the streets last weekend, but on Friday several thousand Brexit supporters and members of far right and racist organisations were the ones marching.

The “Leave Means Leave” protest outside Parliament was also attended by the country’s leading hard-line Brexiteers, such as former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who called Friday a “day of betrayal”.

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Category: UK, World News

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For the first time in British history the end of May will come before the end of April.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good luck

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