A Week in Review: ‘Rocked out of Complacency’

I have to say this week has rocked me out of complacency, I thought it had become obvious over the last few weeks that Theresa the Bruce was taking us towards a ‘Managed No Deal’ scenario probably after a short extension of article 50 maybe in May or June.  I wasn’t naïve enough to think that the votes we have seen in parliament all week would leave us with a clear path at the end of the week, but I thought we would have started to see an inkling into ‘The Bruce’s’ plans.  I did not expect to come out of the week seeing nearly all the options we thought had gradually become less and less likely suddenly rebounding and becoming far more likely again for the future.

We have seen the revival of a long extension of Article 50 with them talking of a two year extension.

We have seen the possibility that the Prime Minister’s long dead deal has risen yet again, as a phoenix from the flames with perhaps greater support than ever, that ‘Bruce’ title becomes more apt every day, and his legacy was the defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314!

A general election has been widely discussed, although I still cannot see how this would improve matters?

We have also seen the resurgence for a demand to let the people have their say again, although exactly what would be asked is a debate in itself.

What then are the facts?

This is what has actually happened this week;

  • Tuesday – Theresa May brings her deal back to parliament where it suffers a defeat by 149 votes (391 against and 242 for)
  • Wednesday – Theresa May brings a vote stating that the UK will not leave the EU on 29th March 2019 with a ‘No Deal’.  An amendment is tabled and voted on at the last minute to change the motion to one whereby the UK will never leave the EU with a ‘No Deal’.  The amendment is successful by 4 votes and Theresa May goes on to lose the main vote by 43.  This means that the UK parliament has decided that the UK must not leave the EU in a ‘No Deal’ scenario.  It is crucial to note at this point that this is not legislation and is not binding in totality.
  • Thursday – A vote is tabled by back benchers for parliament to take control of the Brexit situation away from Theresa May’s embattled government which is defeated by 2 votes (in effect one MP).  Theresa May then brings a vote to request an extension to Article 50 is to be put in place which is passed.  Unfortunately it is not in the Prime Minister’s powers to give this gift and she must now return to Brussels to ask them if they would consider providing an extension.

Where does this leave us?

Parliament appears to have rejected nearly every option;

They have said no to a Deal,

They have said no to a ‘No Deal’

The UK cannot unilaterally implement an extension, although it is incumbent on Theresa May to return to the EU asking for an extension of article 50 this cannot be unilaterally implemented and rather needs the agreement of all 27 European nations.  If an extension was agreed however it is likely to contain substantial conditions such as the necessity of perhaps a general election or second referendum.

The only other option therefore left which the UK can implement unilaterally is to rescind Article 50 and then if wished restart the process again with another 2 year period.

There is another possibility which is that the Prime Minister is unable to gain a deal with the EU and because the legal process states that we will leave the EU on 29th March 2019 this occurs by default.

Given all this, it is virtually impossible to predict what the end result of all this political manoeuvring will be and as such it means that we still have no clear picture of what is going to happen when and whether 29th March will be a significant day or not.  The upheaval means that organisations are still unable to plan effectively for something that is now potentially only two weeks away.

Justin

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