The Brexit crisis hardly needs an introduction, and the past few days have demonstrated the utter nightmare that we are in. Theresa May published her draft Brexit agreement and it was immediately criticised from nearly all politicians and senior figures. The draft agreement does not fulfil the wishes of Brexiteers and we saw the unprecedented likes whereby People’s vote campaigners, such as Alistair Campbell, and staunch Brexiteers, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, agreeing with each other about the disastrous proposal. However, if we take a step back from the political Westminster bubble, people on the streets are asking what on earth is going to happen next? Well, after much consideration and thought, there are four possible outcomes…
Theresa May’s deal:
This undoubtedly is not the ideal option for Brexiteers. Mrs May’s deal leaves us in a customs union with the EU during the transition period as well as the Europe Court of Justice still having some say in the process. Moreover, Northern Ireland would be treated differently because of the backstop meaning they will retain some rules of the single market. Nevertheless, despite the Brexiteers hating this option, it may well end up that this deal passes.
The British public are absolutely fed up with Brexit and just want it to be resolved, and the politicians might eventually realise this. If Mrs May’s deal is voted down in the House of Commons, which seems very likely at the moment, then there is potential for the public to lose all hope with politicians and we will see a huge backlash. The same has occurred in the USA, whereby politicians have voted down a deal simply because of the small detail and it backfired, therefore the second time they approved the deal. No one is happy with Mrs May’s deal but will her message of “this is the best deal we can get” work?
Extension of Article 50:
This solution is the most complex, as the reasoning for extending Article 50 has so many varieties. Mrs May’s position as Conservative leader is under threat, and it is believed that the no confidence vote is drawing ever closer as more letters are being received. Assuming that Mrs May is facing a vote of confidence, this could lead to her losing and stepping down or resigning before the vote, both of which causes a load of problems.
A Conservative leadership contest could take up to 7 weeks, and undoubtedly the new leader would be a Brexiteer and would want to scrap the current proposed deal. In another case, as Mrs May’s deal will fail to get through parliament, a general election would have to be called because the government can’t actually govern. Extending Article 50 would lead to nothing but confusion for businesses, the UK public, and the EU. This outcome is only a basic outline, but there are multiple causes for this.
The no deal outcome is certainly one that Brexiteers would be happy with in comparison to Mrs May’s proposed deal. Moreover, it also seems like quite a likely option as Mrs May is using the controversial tactic saying “it’s my deal or no deal”. The Labour Party are clear in that they absolutely don’t want a no-deal Brexit, but their solution is just as bad as Mrs May’s proposed deal, and it is highly unlikely that their deal would be supported in Parliament. The prominent Brexiteer, Nigel Farage MEP, has always advocated a no deal would not be a problem, and he is using the new campaign Leave Means Leave to spread this message.
No deal would be inconvenient for business, but it would quickly recover, as WTO rules are not difficult to apply. Furthermore, the issue over the Northern Ireland border would be a concern but not a worry, as the UK, EU, and the Irish government have all said they won’t build a hard-border. It would take about three months of uncertainty for business and the public to adapt to a no deal Brexit, but hardcore Brexiteers would prefer this option much more than Mrs May’s deal. If Mrs May remains in power despite failing to get her proposed deal through, then No deal would be very likely.
When Mrs May defended her proposal in parliament she said if it was not accepted we risk a “no deal or no Brexit”. The term ‘no brexit’ is relatively new, and obviously means that we don’t leave the European Union. This is the favourable option for People’s Vote campaigners and quite a few Labour MP’s. However, if Brexit was cancelled either because of a second referendum or another reason, then there will undoubtedly be a constitutional crisis and civil unrest would occur throughout the country.
The Withdrawal Act means it is law that the UK will leave the European Union, and this option seems rather unlikely and delusional. Despite the referendum result being so close, only 35% of people actually want a second referendum. The public are bored and irritated by Brexit, so a second referendum or reversing the two-year negotiating process will cause nothing but anger. This outcome is very unlikely, and the only realistic chance this would happen, is if a general election was called very soon and Labour would win, but even then Jeremy Corbyn would have to change his stance on Brexit and officially endorse remaining in the EU.
What do we predict???
The short answer is we simply don’t know, but some options can certainly be ruled out. The “no Brexit” outcome would be very unlikely to ever happen, and if it did then there will be civil unrest not seen since the London riots. The most likely outcome is that either Theresa May gets her deal through parliament, even if it takes multiple adjustments and votes. The other likely outcome is that Theresa May is ousted as Prime Minister, and a Conservative Brexiteer will quickly replace her without the need for a leadership contest. A week is a very long time in politics, so we could potentially have a new Conservative leader, or even a new government by the time 29th March 2019 arrives. Although no one can accurately predict what happens next, it will definitely go down as one of the most tense, frustrating, and exciting times in modern British politics!