May’s counter to this development needs to be weighed in, since irrespective of grant of an exception to extend Brexit, there is no change in the decision itself – No Brexit, No deal or deal.
An attempt by British lawmakers to prevent a cliff hanger Brexit has started to gain momentum after the Labour Party put its weight behind it.
With Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal facing a humiliating defeat ay Parliament, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit has become very real.
In a step that could overturn centuries of constitutional convention, a handful of British lawmakers are trying to grab control of Brexit from the government in an attempt to prevent an economically catastrophic no-deal exit.
The opposition Labour Party will probably back one such attempt. An amendment has been proposed by Yvette Cooper, a Labour lawmaker, that could result in May being given until February 26 to get a deal approved by Parliament or face a vote on delayed Brexit.
John McDonnell, the second most powerful figure in the Labour Party, told the BBC the amendment was the most sensible way out, and that Labour was “highly likely” to back it. So far, 9 lawmakers from the Conservative party have publicly said they will back it.
With he news reaching the market, the Sterling spiked to its 10-week high against the dollar to $1.3079, on wagers that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided if parliament exerts greater control over the process.
The chaos across the channel has many EU member countries worried. A disorderly Brexit will cost jobs in major economies such as Germany. No wonder they have taken a more cautious approach and are sticking to a no-deal as the default, until London comes up with an alternative.
“Preparing for a no-deal scenario is more important now than ever, even though I still hope that we can avoid this scenario,” said Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator. “Opposing no-deal will not stop no-deal from happening”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said although she prefers an orderly Brexit, however the ball is in London’s court.
Lawmakers sitting on the fence say they could be won over if May were to secure more concessions on the Northern Irish backstop – an insurance policy to keep the border open between the British province and Ireland if a future trade deal falls short.
“I think there is good news for us to hope that a reformation of this deal could be achieved that could make it acceptable,” said lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg. “But … it is not there yet and until it is, people like me will vote against.”
A managed delayed Brexit
The British parliament is slated to hold a vote on January 29 on different options put forward by lawmakers, thus potentially opening a way out of this torturous stalemate.
A spokesman for the Labour Party said they would “look at all mechanisms to take no deal off the table and to give parliament more of a say in this process”.
If the amendment was passed, it would essentially give parliament the power to set set February 26 as the deadline for May by which time she has to get a deal through parliament. In the event of May failing to deliver a deal, the parliament would then be given a vote on asking the EU for a postponement of the Article 50 deadline to prevent Britain leaving without a deal on March 29 and proposes an extension of 9 months to December 31.
If Britain asked to delay its departure under Article 50, the other 27 EU members would need to unanimously approve such a move, something EU officials say would be likely to be granted.
“If this question is presented, they will have questions for the British government: What is it for, what is the purpose? For how long?” said Barnier.
May has however told parliament that the move would not solve the issue of the impasse in parliament.
“What we have seen is amendments seeking to engineer a situation where Article 50 is extended – that does not solve the issue, there will always be a point of decision. The decision remains the same: no deal, a deal or no Brexit,” said May.