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Montevideo, May 23rd 2019 - 20:59 UTC

Brexit: what follows? Anybody's guess, but Tories won't yield to Corbyn

Wednesday, January 16th 2019 - 06:20 UTC
Full article 21 comments
The defeat is a massive blow for Mrs May and throws yet more doubt on the Brexit process. The date for Brexit is only two and a bit months away The defeat is a massive blow for Mrs May and throws yet more doubt on the Brexit process. The date for Brexit is only two and a bit months away
Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a vote of no confidence in the government. This lets MPs decide on whether they want the government to continue Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a vote of no confidence in the government. This lets MPs decide on whether they want the government to continue
The vote will be held tomorrow Wednesday evening and, if parliament decides that it does not want the government to carry on, then it could trigger a general election. The vote will be held tomorrow Wednesday evening and, if parliament decides that it does not want the government to carry on, then it could trigger a general election.
If Mrs. May survives the vote then she says she will present parliament with a different Brexit plan on Monday. But what another plan would look like? If Mrs. May survives the vote then she says she will present parliament with a different Brexit plan on Monday. But what another plan would look like?

It was a Tuesday evening of high-stakes and unprecedented drama that will have an impact far beyond the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for leaving the European Union - the only one on the table - was voted down by parliament on Tuesday. And, given the constant stream of analysis and speculation, you could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.

Politicians were voting on the deal Mrs. May struck with the European Union after more than two years of negotiations. It set out a plan for how the UK would leave the EU on 29 March.

This deal covered some hugely important issues such as what will happen to UK citizens living in the EU and how much money the UK will have to pay to leave.

If it had passed then it would have come into force on 29 March, only 73 days later. Simple enough - at least by the standards of Brexit. But one thing we have learned by now is that the course of Brexit rarely runs smooth...

But the result was the kind of result that Mrs. May will have had nightmares about. Members of Parliament (MPs) voted by an overwhelming margin of 230 votes to reject her deal. Of those, 118 were from Mrs. May's own Conservative party.

It was the largest defeat for a sitting government in history and showed just how unpopular the deal was.

The most controversial sticking point was the issue of the so-called backstop.

This is a kind of safety net to avoid physical border checks between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the EU.

The defeat is a massive blow for Mrs. May and throws yet more doubt on the Brexit process. The date for Brexit is only two and bit months away, but the UK doesn't appear to be any closer to agreeing how exactly it will leave the EU.

Ordinarily, such a crushing defeat would be followed by the prime minister's resignation. But, it's fair to say, these are anything but ordinary times.

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has tabled what's known as a vote of no confidence in the government. This lets MPs decide on whether they want the government to continue. It will be held on Wednesday evening and, if parliament decides that it does not want the government to carry on, then it could trigger a general election.

If Mrs. May survives the vote then she says she will present parliament with a different Brexit plan on Monday. But at this stage, there's no sense at all what another plan would look like.

If parliament doesn't change its mind then there are a few different possibilities. If nothing else happens it will be a no-deal Brexit, This means - as you might expect - the UK leaving on 29 March without a formal agreement.

This would mean no transition period and a sudden rupture in UK/EU relations. A “no-deal” Brexit is where the UK would cut all ties with the European Union overnight.

Theresa May's government, and many others, believe this would be hugely damaging and want a more gradual withdrawal. But if Parliament can't agree on that, and nothing else takes its place, the UK will leave without a deal.

This would mean the UK would not have to obey EU rules. Instead, it would need to follow World Trade Organization terms on trade. Many businesses would see new taxes on imports, exports and services, which are likely to increase their operating costs. That means the prices of some goods in UK shops could go up.

The UK would also lose the trade agreements it had with other countries as a member of the EU, all of which would need to be renegotiated alongside the new agreement with the EU itself.

Manufacturers in the UK expect to face delays in components coming across the border.

The UK would be free to set its own immigration controls. However some UK professionals working in the EU and UK expats could face uncertainty until their status was clarified. The European Commission has said that even in a no-deal scenario, UK travelers won't need a visa for short visits of up to 90 days.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic would become an external frontier for the EU with customs and immigration controls, though how and where any checks would be made is not clear.

Some Leave supporters think that leaving without a deal would be positive if the right preparations were made. They say criticism is scaremongering and any short term pain would be for long term gain.

But critics - including both Brexit supporters and opponents - say that leaving without a deal would be a disaster for the UK: driving up food prices, leading to shortages of goods and gridlock on some roads in the South East resulting from extra border checks.

The government could also propose to negotiate a brand new deal, although this may mean asking for some extra time from the EU.

There could also be another referendum, which would also likely mean asking for more time, or Mrs. May could decide that a general election is the best way to end the stalemate.

Either way, the UK is in uncharted territory and the Brexit clock is ticking.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Chicureo

    To the UK contributors to this news forum:

    In my humble opinion, the reason your country is such a mess right now is because your Prime Minister's weak negotiation team was screwed by a ruthless and vindictive group of Eurocrats that blitzkrieged right over your proud nation's reasonable requests for separation, treating you like Greece.

    This is why I think it makes the case that the No-Deal Brexit is preferable to any deal, because the EU needs and wants, for example, the 39 billion pounds it claims the UK “owes” it, and will become a lot more amenable to negotiation once it gets the sense that the UK is fine with just walking away and repudiating this alleged debt. Perhaps you should just simply tell the Eurocrat Globalists to go to Hell!

    ”Only a few countries are net contributors to the EU as far as taxes; most are net recipients. Of the few countries which are net contributors, the UK is the second biggest (after Germany).”

    Without that 39 billion pounds from the UK, Germany, France, etc. will have to kick in more money to support the EU. Which means higher taxes.

    Which will exacerbate the gilets jaunes problem for Macron and make Merkel miserable as well. Both of them have plunging popularity with their constituents.

    Which means that the UK has a stronger negotiating position than the media and establishment are telling the population.

    Jan 16th, 2019 - 01:01 pm 0
  • The Voice

    Yes, we started from the wrong place. We should just leave and talk to our EU neighbours from outside. It puts pressure on them which has been absent all along. I hope we reach that position. It's a German/French stitch up and always has been. We have no influence and should not be making any financial contribution whatsoever

    Jan 16th, 2019 - 02:01 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    @Chicureo
    Here, I found a nice analogy to help you understand May's problems delivering Brexit:

    https://twitter.com/hugorifkind/status/1072222230791229440?lang=en

    Brexit was nothing but a fantasy from beginning to end, and I see TV hasn't given up his delusions yet. I just feel sorry for the UK, or at least the people who didn't vote for this disaster.

    PS, the UK is not the 2 biggest net contributor, it's 3rd, and given it's also the 2nd or 3rd largest economy, that isn't too surprising. The EU will have to cut their budget or increase contributions from other members, but that's nothing compared to what we'll suffer.

    Jan 16th, 2019 - 02:52 pm 0
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