Lord, what fools these mortals be – Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream
Last Friday should have been the day the UK left the EU. Instead the Westminster Parliament, in a rare Friday sitting, rejected the Withdrawal Agreement component of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal by a substantial majority.
What has happened?
- Parliament has imposed “indicative votes” on possible Brexit outcomes on a reluctant Government, but then failed to produce a majority in favour of any outcome
- The Prime Minister has played her last card in trying to get her deal across the line, by saying she would resign when it was approved, but Parliament has again refused
- The EU extension of Article 50 to 22 May has formally lapsed, and the default is extension to 12 April, then no deal Brexit unless the UK has come up with a credible alternative plan
- The Prime Minister may have one last try to get her deal approved, but unless the Government can get the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support it, this looks unlikely to succeed
- Parliament will try again on 1st April (colloquially known as April Fool’s Day) to establish which alternative option could command majority support
- If both fail, the PM’s last big decision will be whether push through to a “no deal” Brexit on 12 April (against the now well established will of Parliament), or to accept an alternative Parliament supports and seek a short extension with re-negotiation of the Political Declaration on the future relationship, or to seek a much longer extension of the Article 50 process.
What does it all mean? Continue Reading