Brexit, tactical voting, the unity of the United Kingdom… The 12 December election is like no other in many ways. Our colleagues from across UCL offer their thoughts on how to approach the first winter poll since 1923.
Read below our round-up of comments to prepare yourself for the upcoming vote.
Polls show that a so-called People’s Vote might leave the UK split down the middle. UCL’s Tessa Buchanan looks at whether majority support for ID cards could help to break any potential stalemate. Are they the “have-cake-and-eat-it” solution as one think tank suggests?
People rarely change their minds once they are made up and myth-busting doesn’t work. This was the message that struck home from an event where academics from ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ revealed the latest polling data on how Brexit is perceived by the UK public.
Guess what. Those who believed in the £350m a week figure in 2016 still largely believe it; the majority still over-estimate how many EU migrants live in the UK; and many still link EU immigration with crime, pressure on the NHS and lower wages. Both Remainers and Leavers credit beliefs that tally with their own versions of the truth, which helps to explain why there has been relatively little change in support for Brexit in the last two years.
So if calls are mounting for a People’s Vote, what would prevent any new referendum being a re-run of 2016?
Albert Weale applies elementary principle of bargaining theory to demonstrate that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration currently on the table are the best deal possible for the UK government given its own red lines and its starting-point.
The withdrawal agreement and declaration on a future relationship are regarded by both sides of the Brexit debate as a bad deal for the UK. For Brexiteers, it leaves the country as a rule-taking ‘vassal state’ on single market rules, requires payments into the EU budget during the transition period, and has no freedom to implement free trade agreements with other countries until the end of the back-stop. For Remainers it will lead to the UK being worse off than it would be in the EU or in a Norway type arrangement, quite apart from any damage to the UK’s reputation. The temptation is to put this down to Mrs May’s poor negotiating skills. However, given her initial red lines, the outcome is quite positive. The UK is outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ, it has its own immigration policy and has continued customs arrangements, the last of which is far from being an EU plot to keep the UK as a vassal state, but is instead a concession to UK cherry-picking.
Still, it is not good to be a rule-taker, whilst paying into the budget, and with so little protection for UK services. More importantly, it leaves the UK weak in negotiating the terms of the future arrangements given the vetoes that EU might exercise by way of leverage. So, how did a UK government get to this position? Some elementary principles of bargaining theory provide an answer.
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.
With ‘exit day’ less than six months away, public debate about a second Brexit vote continues. In this new post on this topic, Jess Sargeant, Alan Renwick and Meg Russell outline the key decision points and processes by which MPs or the government might choose to trigger a second referendum.
In our previous blogpost we considered how long it would take to hold a second referendum on Brexit, concluding that an extension to Article 50 would almost certainly be required. The length of the necessary extension would depend on when the referendum was triggered. Calling a referendum requires a majority in parliament, and whether such a majority exists will depend on political and circumstantial factors. But by examining the process of Brexit we can identify a number of key junctures at which a decision to hold a referendum could be made.