A ‘no-deal Brexit’ would leave UK nowhere; May’s proposal at least allows them some time for further deliberation.
Two and a half years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, Brexit has been more a source of vexing imponderables than any comforting answers for the British public. Last week, UK prime minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union (EU). Coming just five months before the UK is to officially leave the EU, it was bound to widen cracks and deepen fault lines.
In the 2016 Brexit referendum, most voters had simply vented their frustrations with Brussels—that is, the referendum wasn’t the reflection of considered stands. Nobody knew or realised what leaving the EU would involve—that is, till now. So, it is no surprise that the decision has become an albatross around the neck of not just for the UK public, but also the Tory government. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that May has the votes to get her deal through Parliament.
If the deal is struck down by lawmakers in Europe or in the UK, Britain faces a “no deal Brexit”—crashing out of the EU in March with no clear path forward, leading to higher tariff barriers, price hikes and even, though very unlikely, shortage of food and medicines, unless a second referendum were to happen. This is, again, unlikely considering that the first one was called due to voter dissatisfaction with the EU—this hardly should have changed by now—and a second go would only incite more animosity towards the country’s elected representatives.
It would be a clear indication of the loss of popular support enjoyed by the current ruling party and they would never allow such a thing to happen. What is needed, therefore, is time, and May’s proposal—although under fire from both pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit parliamentarians—gives the UK just that. But the problem is getting the House of Commons to agree on May’s deal, and siding with any party willing to support.
What remains to be seen is whether the UK Parliament can agree on May’s version of the Brexit deal and whether they believe in her to be the person representing Britain during these most unsettling of times.