Delays Planned As May Prepares For Third Brexit Deal Vote
This Week in Brexit:
This week was all about how long Brexit is going to be delayed after the Commons decision last week to officially extend Article 50. Many want a short delay, others want a long delay, some want no-deal Brexit, and some want a second referendum. In other words: politics as usual. Welcome to your Weekly Brexit Briefing Britain, let’s get to the week’s news.
Monday began with a little bit of hope for Mrs. May, as she was able to gather some new support for her Brexit deal with eyes on a third meaningful vote the following week. Third meaningful vote?! Honestly, a word loses ‘meaning’ the more and more its used. For example, one of the studios behind the Fast and Furious franchise is titled ‘Original Film’, and yet eight films as well as a spinoff have been made. You see my point? May also earned some more support after Lord Trimble announced that, after going through the changes made in that Strasbourg meeting the previous week between May and Jean-Claude Juncker, there are limitations to the impact of the Northern Irish Backstop. The backstop remains as one of the most controversial points in the Withdrawal Agreement. The day ended with May giving an ultimatum to her MPs: support her deal or risk never leaving the European Union. But of course, whether it is a ‘meaningful’ ultimatum is up to us to decide. Note that sarcasm!
Needless to say, political media exploded on Tuesday when House of Commons Speaker John Bercow banned Theresa May from holding a third meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, plunging the country into what is now being considered a ‘constitutional crisis’. However, seeing as how we don’t have a written constitution, I have pondered that term quite a lot, Britain. Bercow said unless substantial changes are made to the Withdrawal Agreement, May cannot call a vote on the exact same deal three times in a row. This has obviously put the Prime Minister in a pretty pickle. She has very few options to get around this situation, the most peculiar of which is that she could ask the Queen herself to cut the parliamentary session short, and reopen it again with another vote. However, May must decide what to do quick, for if she does not pass her deal in the next ten days, she could be looking at asking for an Article 50 extension of up to two years. Dun Dun DUNNNNNN!
Reeling from Tuesday’s drama, May has dropped her plans to ask for a nine month extension of Article 50 after Tory MPs expressed their anger with her for wanting to ask for such a lengthy delay on Wednesday. Her new plan is to ask for only a three month delay on Brexit. May agreed to this quickly as it was apparent that if she were to ask for a long delay, many Tory ministers would quit, throwing the Conservative Party into more turmoil. In other exciting news, the Disney-Fox merger deal officially closed on Wednesday, with Disney acquiring all of the entertainment sources owned by 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion. Does this mean Deadpool is officially a Disney princess? Discuss.
Theresa May delivered another angry speech to her MPs on Thursday, telling them to get behind her deal because the public, in her words, “as had enough of Brexit”. You know, because the Prime Minister herself has had enough of Brexit! EU Council President Donald Tusk confirmed that the EU leaders will support an Article 50 extension only if the House of Commons passes May’s deal. That is a MAJOR if, Mr. President. However, in the event that May’s deal does not pass in the Commons next week, the EU has two options: either let the UK leave with a no-deal Brexit, or give PM May a long extension on Article 50.
The week ended with delay dates being solidified by the European Union on Brexit. Brussels has given Theresa May three weeks to get the Withdrawal Agreement passed in Parliament. If her deal does not pass, Brexit will be delayed until 12 April. If the deal does pass, then the new Brexit date will be 22 May, just one day short of the European Parliament 2019 elections. If the Prime Minister’s deal is not passed, either a no-deal Brexit will take place, or May will have to ask for a long Article 50 extension. The EU is prepared to grant that extension, however, it will only allow it if the UK participates in the European Parliament elections in May.
That wraps up this weeks Brexit Briefing, Britain. The third meaningful vote on Brexit will take place sometime next week. We are officially no longer leaving the European Union on 29 March. And if anything on the long, long future of Brexit is clear, it is this: my briefings will be around for quite some time!
Northern Irish Backstop: refers to the border between Northern Ireland (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. It is an insurance policy so that an actual hard border does come into being. Post-Brexit, this will be the only land border between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Withdrawal Agreement: the more official term used to describe the deal Prime Minister Theresa May made and agreed with the European Union upon in November 2018.
Article 50: the article that the United Kingdom imposed when it made its sovereign decision to leave the European Union. This article gave the leave date a maximum of two years time from its imposition.
‘No-Deal’ Brexit: a scenario in which the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without any trade agreement, is only subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.
12 April: the date in which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is not passed in the House of Commons.
22 May: the date in which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is passed in the House of Commons.
European Parliament 2019 Election: the election in which new MEPs (members of European Parliament) are elected to represent each EU member state. This year’s election takes place 23-26 May.
29 March: the date on which the United Kingdom was originally meant to separate from the European Union.