May’s Brexi deal faces strong headwinds in parliament. Today’s vote will not only decide her May’s career but also chart Britain’s economic and geo-political future in the days to come.
On Tuesday, in a historic vote in the British parliament on the Brexit deal that has been hammered out by British Prime Minister Theresa May, the prospects of the deal being rejected by British lawmakers is expectedly high.
A no-deal Brexit will leave not only the UK’s economy in limbo but also its membership with the the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc.
Given the high stakes, May has repeatedly urged lawmakers to take a second look at the deal before it is hastily booted out in a voting session scheduled to begin at 1900 GMT.
Essentially, if the deal was rejected, the prospects of picking up the pieces and putting it together again will hinge on the scale of the loss. If the loss can be managed, May could work that to gain more concessions from the EU and place that for another vote in parliament.
However, in case of an overwhelming response against it, May could be forced to delay Britain’s scheduled divorce with the EU on March 29 and potentially open up other options including a second Brexit referendum.
According to Dominic Raab, who resigned as May’s Brexit minister in November 2018 as a mark of protest to her Brexit plans, it is time to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. This cliff hanger scenario is likely to be chaotic for British businesses.
“It’s time for us, through this vote, to make clear not just that the current terms are unacceptable, but that we are not just throwing our hands up in the air,” said Raab to BBC radio. “We are going to leave on March 29.”
Brexit has become Britain’s deepest political crisis, which is likely to be a precursor to an economic crisis as well, for at least half a century.
Although many EU leaders have stood by May with assurances on the withdrawal deal, there was however little to suggest a change of heart among rebel lawmakers. Many in May’s own cabinet say, the deal gives Brussels too much power, chiefly an agreed insurance policy to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland.
The EU told May that it stood by commitments to find ways to avoid triggering the Irish “backstop”.
Incidentally, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, based on whom May’s minority government depends on, said it will not support the deal.
May has made it lucidly clear that if the deal is rejected it could result in the break-up of the United Kingdom; she has also warned her Conservative Party against allowing the left-wing opposition Labour Party to seize the initiative.
In the event May were to lose today’s vote, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition, is expected to call a parliamentary vote of no confidence against May.
May’s deal, which envisages close economic ties with the EU, has united both sides of the debates – the Brexit supporters as well as the pro-EU lawmakers.
With May’s deal facing an imminent ‘no deal’ Brexit, a few lawmakers are planning to try to pull control of Brexit from the government.
In such a scenario, although May’s government will be weakened the executive will still wield significant powers and it is unclear how parliament would be able to take control of Brexit.