The Brexit drama continues! What has recently happened has offered little help to clear the mist of the matter. Rather, Britons, as well as global investors, have become more uncertain about the outlook. On Wednesday, the UK parliament has rejected ALL eight Brexit options in the “indicative votes”. Recall that the European parliament has ruled that the UK would leave the EU on May 22 if the Withdrawal Agreement (the deal) is passed by MPs, or on April 12, should there be no deal approved.

All Eight Motions Were Voted Down

Confirmatory referendum For: 268 Against: 295
Customs union For: 264 Against: 272
Labour’s Brexit plan For: 237 Against: 307
Common Market 2.0 For: 188 Against: 283
Revoking Article 50 to avoid no deal For: 184 Against: 293

 

No-deal exit on April 12 For: 160 Against: 400
Malthouse Plan B For: 139 Against: 422
EFTA and EEA membership For: 65 Against: 377

What Next – Third Meaningful Vote?

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Despite rejection of all motions yesterday, it appears that PM Theresa May still attempts to put the deal for a third meaningful vote, together with the promise she would resign as the prime minister upon approval of the deal. However, whether a third vote can be tabled is still uncertain as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow cast doubt on the move. As he suggested, “there should be no misunderstanding, I wish to make clear that I do expect the government to meet the test of change…They should not seek to circumvent my ruling by means of tabling either a notwithstanding or a paving motion, the tabling office has been instructed no such motion would be accepted”.

Worse still, PM May might not be able get a deal despite the promise to resign. It is true that some Brexiteers have softened in light of the concern that UK might stay in EU indefinitely if the delay drags on. For instance, hardliner Boris Johnson has signaled his inclination to vote for the deal. However, DUP has refused to support the deal as the Irish border issue remains unresolved. In the statement released yesterday, DUP noted that “the necessary changes we seek to the backstop have not been secured”, and “the remaining and ongoing strategic risk that Northern Ireland would be trapped in backstop arrangements at the end of the implementation period” has not yet dissipated. It added that the backstop arrangement “has the potential to create an internal trade border within the UK and would cut us off from our main internal market, being Great Britain”. Ironically, the dust is far from settled in the case that PM May’s deal is passed without DUP’s support. Approval of an unfavorable deal in the eyes of DUP may lead the party to withdraw its support for the Conservative government, which has lost majority after the snap election in 2017. Such scenario might bring about another snap election of the parliament.

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