Brexit is just around the corner. What now?
Brexit is scheduled to take place on March 29, 2018. This is because the exit process was started on March 29, 2016 by British government under Theresa May. The government at that time triggered article 50 of Treaty on the European Union (TEU) that governs the withdrawal from the European Union.
However, only three months away from the scheduled withdrawal, British government has not yet secured any deal on the future prospect after Brexit takes place in the future. Although on November 25, 2018 the British government has agreed on a Brexit deal with the European Union, this deal is still up for British parliament vote on December 11, 2018.
The deal that was agreed on November 25, 2018 comes in two parts. It contains the withdrawal agreement, which is a 585-page legally-binding text that sets the terms of UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It also contains the statement on future relations, which is a 26-page not legally-binding text that sketches out the future relationship between the UK and the EU in various fields such as trade, defense, and security.
Theresa May’s own Cabinet Members urge Theresa May to resign
Shortly after Theresa May came back from Brussels on November 15, 2018 to negotiate the Brexit deal with her European counterparts, a number of ministers in her cabinet resigned. This resignations include that of Brexit Secretary’s, Dominic Raab. It was predicted and expected, actually, that Theresa May would resign if her Brexit deal could not make it through her own cabinet. However, what happened was the otherwise, where Theresa May stays in her post while numerous cabinet members resigned in the aftermath of the cabinet meeting on the Brexit deal.
Theresa May’s own Party urges Theresa May to resign
In light of the disagreements to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, several UK Members of Parliament from Theresa May’s own Party, the Conservative Party, tries to trigger a vote of no confidence towards Theresa May. According to Conservative Party’s regulation, a vote of no confidence can take place is 15% of total Members of Parliament from Conservative Party send a letter of no confidence to the Chairman of 1922 Committee. This committee is Conservative Private Members’ Committee, headed by Sir Graham Brady. In current term, this 15% translates to 48 Conservative Members of Parliament. Currently, Sir Graham Brady says that the number has not been reached and, therefore, a vote of no confidence within Conservative Party is not yet possible.
Now that the Brexit deal is up for vote by UK Parliament on December 11, 2018, Theresa May has around one week to campaign and to sell her Brexit deal. However, if the deal does not pass through the parliament on December 11, 2018,
Theresa May’s opposition urges Theresa May to resign
The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party calls the deal negotiated by Theresa May as not good enough. He even questioned the government, what has the government done in the last two years? The Labour Party has outlined six tests for a Brexit deal to be acceptable for Labour Party. Those six tests are:
- Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?
- Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?
- Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?
- Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?
- Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?
- Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?
Jeremy Corbyn says that Theresa May’s Brexit deal fails to pass the test, and therefore, the Labour Party will vote it down during the vote in Parliament on December 11, 2018. That being said, if the deal is voted down, there is a case for the parliament to claim that Theresa May fails to deliver Brexit. Therefore, it is fair to question Theresa May’s government as the parliament is no longer confident in the her government.
UK Parliament calls for a snap election
If the bill does not pass on December 2011, Labour Party will have a stronger case for and to call a snap election. In British system, a snap election is allowed as long as it gets enough vote in the parliament. It already happened once during Theresa May’s leadership and can happen as long as it meets the required vote in the parliament. Snap election is a general election that is called earlier than expected. A snap election would allow the Labour Party to get more seats in the parliament, and consequently takes over the government. If this happens, this means that the Labour Party will have the control over future Brexit negotiation vis-a-vis the EU. However, critics say that the possibility is very low given the fact that the Brexit deadline is approaching.
UK Parliament calls for a second referendum
Given the fact that many in both benches do not agree nor support Theresa May’s current Brexit deal, Members of Parliament from both Conservative and Labour Parties can call for a second referendum on Brexit. This could stop Brexit from happening and this idea has gained more support as demonstrated by 700,000 people who marched in London last month in opposition of Brexit. Those who are against Brexit are in support of this idea because now that electorates are more informed about Brexit, they can cast “a more-informed vote” on Brexit ballot. However, for the people on the other side, a second referendum means disrespect to the result of the first referendum. UK Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, claims that if a second referendum is to take place, people would vote to leave “in even greater numbers.”
No deal Brexit
If the Brexit bill does not pass the parliament vote on December 11, 2018 and all the above possible move are not taken by anyone, it is possible that UK will get a “no deal Brexit”, meaning that Brexit will still happen, and even worse, without any deal between the UK and the EU.
Why is this bad? UK’s 45 years membership in the EU has intertwined both sides very deeply. The cooperation between the two are embedded in every facets of the lives of everyone in both sides of English Channel. Both are closely cooperating in immigration, trade, security, defense, fisheries, agriculture, and many other sectors. For example, the surge in European products sold in the UK will be effective on Brexit day (29 March, 2019), if no-deal-Brexit is to take place. Other than that, millions of British people living in Europe and Europeans living in the UK will be left with uncertainty. Cutting the cooperation in an extreme manner is seen by many as not an option at all.
Both ways, Brexit will adversely affect the UK. According to a study by Downing Street and the Bank of England, in both scenario — a Brexit with a clear divorce bill and a Brexit with no deal at all — UK will be adversely affected by Brexit.
No Brexit at all
So, is “No Brexit” an option on the table? Given the fact that a Brexit with clear divorce bill and a no-deal-Brexit will both adversely affect the UK, now an effort to reverse Brexit is gaining ground. The ways to undo Brexit have been explained above — ranging from ousting Theresa May from inside of her own party to from her opposition, by calling a snap election or by calling a second referendum. Now that the decision is up for the UK Parliament to decide, will the UK people be given one more chance to have a say in the future of their country?