Since the devastating defeat of her Brexit divorce deal, British Prime Minister Theresa May has been doing all she can to figure out some kind of agreement that can actually be ‘agreed’ upon.
Questions are being asked of not just how the UK will leave the EU, but even if the Brexit should still go forward. So May is not only having to draft a new exit plan, but also keep the UK convinced that what they voted for in the 2016 referendum is still the right thing to do.
However, with the 29 March due date looming over the UK as it gets closer to leaving Europe, the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is increasing, as it seems to be the only way this political move can happen on time.
A hard Brexit deadline
As RAW reports, May is trying to make MP support-worthy changes to her Brexit deal.
But even with these alterations, May is not confident in taking a no-deal Brexit off the table, purely because of the time constraints which Article 50 enforces.
Article 50, which states that ‘Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements’ comes with a two-year window from the time it is invoked. That two-year end date is 29 March.
And this is the dilemma that May has been pushing for quite some time now.
‘No-deal will only be taken off the table by either revoking Article 50, which turns back the results of the referendum – the government will not do that — or by having a deal, and that is what we are trying to work out,’ May said.
What’s of more concern however, is that this ‘having a deal’ would, of course, involve the EU allowing an extension of the Article 50 deadline. And they aren’t exactly thrilled with that idea.
But May insists that the other alternative — another referendum — would just give strength to those wanting to break up the UK, damaging social cohesion and faith in democracy, as RAW also reports.
The Ireland situation
One such change May has been trying to make in this ‘new’ deal involves proposing concessions to be given by the EU on customs checks at the Irish border.
This, she has done to fulfil her vow to be ‘more flexible’ with MPs who are wanting amendments to the Northern Irish backstop situation.
‘I will then take the conclusions of those discussions back to the EU,’ May said, ‘My focus continues to be on what is needed to secure the support of this House in favour of a Brexit deal with the EU.’
Conservative party members who are hardline Brexiteers are most hung up about Britain’s inability to completely end the backstop. This would involve keeping it in an EU customs union until other open border arrangements are made.
But Brussels is insisting the Brexiteers give up this idea, saying that such a provision is non-negotiable.
Regarding this issue, the Daily Telegraph reported that May was considering amending the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which gave rise to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
This agreement allows the Assembly to make some decisions that would otherwise be made by Britain, and the supposed amendment involved an assurance that no hard border would be placed on Ireland after Brexit. May denied such claims.
Will Brexit happen?
While the EU are obviously seeking an orderly Brexit, they’re growing more accepting of the fact that it’s just growing more and more chaotic.
According to RAW, German Minister Michael Roth said that even William Shakespeare would not have been able to think up a Brexit tragedy of such drama.
There are still some MPs wanting to take away May’s control of Brexit, even after winning two confidence votes.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is still insisting that May’s current deal is ‘undeliverable’, but refuses to discuss potential alternatives until the ‘no-deal’ option is revoked. And we’ve already explained why that can’t happen.
Once the motion on May’s proposals is published, MPs will be able to suggest amendments with alternative proposals.
We fear the list of changes will be even greater the second time around, with the unity of the nation becoming visibly weaker.
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