Brexit


#1522

He was, live in Brussels. Martina Anderson had another go at diane dodds, but they had to be kept apart after Anderson mauled her this morning on the radio ulster news.


#1523

I know, I mean who wants cheap bras!?


#1524

They’d come apart in your hands ffs.


#1525

#1526

That Laura Kuennsenberg on the bbc is very annoying.


#1527

I have yet to hear her say anything remotely interesting or controversial.


#1528

It must be awful to be living over there.


#1529

Karen Bradley is at it again:

Sure bring back gerrymandering and be done with it.


#1530

The longer this goes on, the more you have to think that May is holding on for two scenarios;

  1. EU capitulation
  2. She holds on long enough that there is no way that the ERG can get someone else in and she has to cave to the EU. Calls the ERG and Labour’s bluff on a customs union and things are rosy.

Everyday the UK threads the line of admitting they lied in commitments or are going to renage on them. The EU should have already told her Government to get lost and sort out the UK position (with a new PM, election or whatever), but this suits them as well.


#1531

IN DEPTH

Deal or no deal, the big question is: will there be a second Brexit referendum?

Oliver Wright analyses the various scenarios in which the public could yet have another say on leaving the EU

With numerous scenarios still looming we look at what each could really mean in terms of a second vote

With numerous scenarios still looming we look at what each could really mean in terms of a second voteTOLGA AKMEN/REUTERS

The Times, October 8 2018, 5:00pm

Share

Save

IF THERE IS A DEAL: Theresa May achieves a Brexit agreement with the European Union

Reaching an agreement with Brussels is only the start: in order for it to take effect her proposal will need approval by parliament both through a “meaningful” vote on the final deal, which can be amended, and then through an act of parliament that officially puts it into law. Both provide opportunities for those in favour of a second referendum.

Scenario one: Parliament decides to put the deal to a public vote

Theresa May has publicly ruled out a second voteCHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES

The strategy of pro-referendum campaigners is to argue that any deal that is struck needs to be endorsed by the people. To this end they are certain to table an amendment to the meaningful vote calling for a second referendum. They hope that, by this stage, Labour will be officially in favour of a second vote and that even some Brexiteers, unhappy with the compromises that the deal will have to involve, will join them.

Problem: The government is planning to ask MPs to table and vote on amendments to the meaningful vote motion before they vote on the final deal itself. This makes it much less likely that Labour would vote for a second referendum and much less likely that Brexiteers would support them. Both, for different reasons, will want the motion to fail unamended.

Scenario two: Mrs May loses the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal

With the Labour front bench all but committed to opposing whatever deal the prime minister comes back with and at least 20 of her own MPs against her Chequers plans, there is a strong chance that she will lose the meaningful vote.

In this circumstance, two things could happen:

1. Mrs May changes her mind and decides to put her plan to the people in a second referendum. She would whip her own MPs to support her and hope that she could count on pro-Europe Labour MPs to offset an inevitable rebellion from her own backbenchers.

Problem: Mrs May has ruled out a second referendum and if she has a deal, she would be understandably reluctant to put that to a highly uncertain public vote. Her better strategy might be to plough ahead with no deal, and then put her Brexit plan back to parliament closer to “B-Day” in the hope that she can peel off Labour backbenchers to support her.

2. She starts preparing for no deal. In such a scenario under the EU Withdrawal Act the government must table, before January 21, 2019, a motion in the Commons detailing how it intends to proceed. It will be up to the Speaker, John Bercow — who is publically politically neutral but in private a strong opponent of Brexit — to determine whether this motion can be amended. Should he decide that it can be, MPs would be able to table an amendment to the motion calling for a second referendum. If a majority of MPs backed the move then it would be hard for the government to resist.

Problem: This requires the Speaker to bend parliamentary protocol to its limits, as the government will try its hardest to ensure any motion it tables is written in “neutral” terms and so be unamendable. It also assumes that there is a majority in the Commons for a second referendum, which currently is not the case.

Labour has moved closer to supporting it, but even if it became party policy the whips estimate that about 30-40 of its MPs would rebel. There are also probably fewer than 20 Tory MPs who would vote against Mrs May to support a second vote, so on the current arithmetic it is hard to see it passing.

IN YOUR INBOX


Your weekly Brexit Briefing

Policy editor Oliver Wright and politics reporter Henry Zeffman help you understand the effects of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union

Sign up now

Scenario three: The meaningful vote is passed and the government puts the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill before parliament

This bill has been described as a Christmas tree upon which MPs and peers can hang amendments and one would certainly be a second referendum. This would take the form of a clause making the deal being approved by parliament conditional on approval of voters.

Problem: Apart from the obvious one of getting enough MPs to support such an amendment there will also be a problem of time. By the point at which the bill gets to the Commons the UK is likely to be less than two months away from Brexit day. This would not be long enough to arrange and organise a referendum so it would require the government to request an extension to Article 50 to give time for such a vote to take place.

This would have to be agreed unanimously by the EU’s 27 member states. Faced with the prospect of a deal they were happy with, and the uncertainty of another referendum, approving this would be far from a forgone conclusion.

Scenario four: Theresa May’s deal is so unpopular that it triggers a general election

In this scenario parliament is deadlocked and Mrs May decides to call an election, as a quasi vote on her deal. The Tory party fractures with Brexiteers breaking off to form a separate party and Labour wins on a policy of withdrawing Article 50 and calling another in/out referendum.

Problem: This scenario makes a great many assumptions, many of which are implausible. Brexit is uncharted waters, however, so it cannot be entirely ruled out.

IF THERE IS NO DEAL: Theresa May fails to reach a Brexit agreement with the European Union
In some senses a second referendum is more plausible if there is not a deal than if there is one. Britain will be heading towards a chaotic exit from the European Union within weeks and the pressure to think again could become overwhelming. Curiously, however, there are less obvious parliamentary mechanisms to achieve a second referendum if there is not a deal than if there is.

INTERACTIVE


Deal or no deal: the UK’s Brexit options

From a comprehensive partnership to an agreed ‘no deal’, there are various eventualities for Britain’s exit from the European Union

Read the feature

Scenario one: Theresa May backs a second referendum

If she fails to get a deal the prime minister could decide to volte face and say that the British people need to have the choice between leaving without a deal or staying in. With the backing of the government behind her she might get this through the Commons.

Problem: Not least Mrs May herself, who has repeatedly said she will never do this. Labour might also oppose this plan and would want to push for an election rather than a referendum. Also if the negotiations have irrevocably broken down then public opinion may decisively shift against the EU, with a majority in favour of walking away entirely. You could end up in a bizarre scenario where those pro-Europeans currently in favour of a referendum suddenly go rather cold on the idea and look for other ways (such as extending Article 50) to derail Brexit.

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said last week that a Brexit deal was closeFILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Scenario two: MPs take matters into their own hands

If there is no deal, under the EU Withdrawal Act, the prime minister must make a statement to MPs by January 21, 2019.

Within a fortnight the Commons would be given the opportunity to vote on the government’s plans, albeit in a motion expressed “in neutral terms” (such as “this House has considered the government’s plans to leave the European Union without a withdrawal agreement”).

The big question is whether this motion could be amended. Ultimately that would be up to the Speaker to determine whether or not the motion was neutral (which cannot be amended) or not neutral (in which case it could be).

Supporters of a second referendum claim that if we got to this stage then politics would trump procedure and that if there was a clear majority in favour of a second referendum then parliament would find a way of exerting its will.

Problem: This scenario has similar problems to the one above: parliamentary arithmetic and fear that voters might decide to go it alone anyway. It is also possible that in these circumstances the pro-Europeans in the main parties, possibly supported by the government, might push for an extension to Article 50 for talks to continue rather than putting the deal to a vote.

Boris Johnson used last week’s Conservative Party conference to call on Theresa May to “chuck Chequers”CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES

Scenario three: Amend the legislation needed for a no-deal Brexit

If there is no deal then parliament will need to pass at least nine pieces of primary legislation to ensure the government has a legal basis for doing the things we all take for granted now. Some MPs believe that this legislation could be used to smuggle in second referendum legislation via the back door.

Problem: It is far from clear that such amendments would be ruled in order. Under Britain’s unwritten constitution amendments to government legislation have to be “in scope” (ie relevant) to the bill in question.

Even if they could be amended it is unlikely that such amendments could provide the full legal basis for holding a second referendum. It would almost certainly need additional primary legislation, and again under the constitution such legislation can only be brought forward by the government or a backbench bill (that can easily be defeated or talked out by opponents).

INTERACTIVE


Brexit explained

From the cost of Marmite to the future of the fishing industry: explore what leaving the EU will really mean for Britain

Read the interactive

Scenario four: Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal and things are so bad that MPs vote to request to rejoin and put it to a second referendum

We’re in real fantasy land here. But if the consequences of no deal are as bad as some predict it cannot be entirely ruled out. In this scenario the no-deal fallout results in the government collapsing and a new election in which Jeremy Corbyn enters Downing Street on a pledge to hold another in/out referendum.

Problem: We’ll have left and under EU rules we would have to renegotiate our terms of membership, losing the rebate and potentially having to join the euro. On many levels that does not look plausible.


#1532

The EU can’t allow Brexit to leave the UK better off than it was before. The Ireland stuff gives the EU a nice strong solid basis to fuck the Brits. If they abandon ireland they’ll have to fuck up Britain some other way.


#1533


#1534

#1535

#1536

What’s the latest lads, I’d completely forgotten about this.


#1537

Peter Casey was on the radio this morning and said it’s a load of nonsense. There’s nothing to be worried about Brexit.


#1538

Sounds bad so.


#1539

It’s as you were. Teresa needs to get her budget passed before she does or says anything, and even then, her saying or doing anything remotely leader like are slim. She will bury her head until absolutely the last minute and then give in to whoever happens to be shouting loudest at her at the time.


#1540

He probably voted for it.


#1541

Who’s going to look out for paddy when the Europeans are going in bareback on them? We always had your back