The Brexit deal brokered by British Prime Minister Theresa May has tanked in Parliament, ensuring further chaos before Brexit’s done-and-dusted March 29 deadline.
MPs from across the political spectrum voted against the agreement 432 votes to 202, representing a colossal defeat to May’s ‘soft’ Brexit agreement.
This means that with weeks to go until Britain and the European Union formally sever their ties, the UK is still without a set of mutually-agreed guidelines providing for that exit.
The worst-case scenario here is grim. If the Parliament can’t actually vote on a Brexit deal before midnight on March 29, the UK will (figuratively) sail away from the European Union without ratifying a new set of trade and customs agreements.
Doomsayers predict that food shipments to and from the UK could be halted, along with the import of life-saving medicines. Flights may be grounded as authorities struggle to work out how, exactly, British citizens are permitted to travel around the EU. Then there’s the nigh unknowable labyrinth of bureaucratic agreements which would automatically turn to shit at midnight.
A spokesperson for Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, said the result of the vote was concerning – but the EU would steel itself for the worst.
“We will continue our preparations for all outcomes, including a no-deal scenario,” the spokesperson said.
“The risk of a disorderly exit has increased with this vote, and while we do not want this to happen, we will be prepared for it.”
As it stands, May might not be the one to return to Brussels to cobble together another set of agreements before the deadline. In light of that catastrophic defeat, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in May, giving parliamentarians the opportunity to effectively ditch May and her Conservative Party government tomorrow, before formulating a new Brexit roadmap.
Then there’s the outside chance of another nationwide referendum on the issue, in which the British people could decide the whole Brexit idea was a bit silly and that they’d actually like to stay in the European Union, thank you very much.
It’s a lot. Watch this space.
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