The Brexit Deal: Can Parliament be Scared into Submission?

As agreement is reached with the EU, Theresa May’s Brexit deal will come before parliament. In this contribution, Benjamin Martill, Dahrendorf Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow at LSE, breaks down the parliamentary arithmetic and assesses her options.

My Kingdom for a Deal

Theresa May has, at long last, reached agreement with the EU on the terms of Britain’s impending withdrawal from the Union on 29 March 2019. The deal is politically controversial and seems to have pleased no one, especially the hardline Brexiters. This is because it could see the UK remain within a single customs territory with the EU, precluding the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland would also remain in key elements of the single market for goods, for the same reason. This ‘backstop’ has proven to be the most contentious element of the Withdrawal Agreement, dragging out negotiations which were almost 80 percent complete at the beginning of 2018.

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The Brexit crossroads: Will the Deal Pass? (2/2)

hard brexitWhat is clear from recent political developments is that the UK is at a crossroads. According to Kirsty Hughes, whether a deal passes or not in the House of Commons in December depends now not least on whether enough Tory Brexiter MPs will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, an irony considering this could lead to Brexit not happening at all. As time is running out, this second post discusses whether the deal can pass while the first one explained the deal itself and its dilemmas.

While many are predicting it cannot pass the Commons – and that certainly looks tough for now – the political dynamics of the coming weeks are not easily predicted. Theresa May could yet face a leadership challenge. But she is aiming still to head to Brussels for the EU summit on 25th November, sign off the deal and see if she can get it through parliament perhaps by the second week of December. And the EU will be clear that it’s this deal or nothing (although Tusk has helpfully said that the EU is best prepared for no Brexit at all). It’s also been suggested that, even if the deal is rejected, May might then ask the EU27 at the 13-14 December summit for some amendments to the deal and ask the Commons to vote again in January.

But this starts to look unlikely – a clear rejection of the deal by the Commons would open up a major, destabilising political crisis. Where the Brexit saga would go next is unclear – an election, a people’s vote including a ‘remain’ option (with an extension of Article 50), a renegotiation for a ‘soft’ Brexit, a national unity government?

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The Brexit crossroads: What does the Deal really contain? (1/2)

hard brexitWhat is clear from recent political developments is that the UK is at a crossroads. According to Kirsty Hughes, whether a deal passes or not in the House of Commons in December depends now not least on whether enough Tory Brexiter MPs will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, an irony considering this could lead to Brexit not happening at all. As time is running out, this first post explains the deal itself and its dilemmas while the second one discusses whether the deal can pass. 

Deal contained in the very long withdrawal agreement and the short (but to be lengthened) political declaration is a messy one. It covers – as the March draft did – the rights of citizens, the UK’s financial payments, transition – and now with clear governance proposals and a new variant of the backstop to ensure an open border in Ireland.

The transition period, when the UK stays in the EU’s single market and customs union – a powerless rule-taker – still ends in December 2020 but can be extended if the UK asks for it to be by July 2020. When it may end is left open for now in the draft text – “20xx”.

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Doris, cleaner to the chattering classes, and the British Islands

Doris British Islands

Doris cleaner to the chattering classes

A new UCL European Institute series of cartoons by Ros Asquith featuring Doris, a cleaning lady that witnesses the divides of a society shaken by Brexit. This series will be composed of a monthly cartoon shedding light on a particular issue around the British society and Brexit from July 2018 till the departure of the UK from the EU in March 2019.

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Doris, cleaner to the chattering classes, and laundering

Doris and laundry

Doris cleaner to the chattering classes

A new UCL European Institute series of cartoons by Ros Asquith featuring Doris, a cleaning lady that witnesses the divides of a society shaken by Brexit. This series will be composed of a monthly cartoon shedding light on a particular issue around the British society and Brexit from July 2018 till the departure of the UK from the EU in March 2019.

Continue reading