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Brexit: latest updates for 2019

Brexit: latest updates for 2019

When we last wrote about Brexit, Theresa May was making last minute amendments to her Brexit proposal ahead of the EU summit. Despite the deal having been approved by EU representatives, it is still unclear whether or not May’s deal will go through on March 29th, 2019.

Double rejection from anti Brexit MPs

In the past week alone, Theresa May’s deal was rejected twice by MPs who voted for amendments 308 to 297, therefore forcing May to come back to the House of Commons within three sitting days. A Commons vote is thus scheduled for this coming Tuesday. Should the EU withdrawal deal be rejected, the British PM must make a formal statement on what she intends to do next and do so before Monday January 21st. This statement will take the form of a motion which MPs can amend, giving Parliament an opportunity to plan for an alternative Brexit – or no Brexit at all.

A call for a UK general election in case of defeat

Should Theresa May’s Brexit deal be turned down on Tuesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has expressed his intention to challenge a no confidence vote on the British PM’s government. Although the timing of the trigger is still unclear, the Labour leader would most likely call for a general election within the next few days.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Corbyn said his priority was to avoid a no-deal Brexit rather than a ‘People’s Vote’. This came as a semi-blow to Labour members, 72% of which are in favour of a Final Say referendum. “My own view is that I would rather get a negotiated deal now if we can stop the danger of a no-deal exit from the EU on 29 March, which would be catastrophic for industry, catastrophic for trade and the long-term effects of that would be huge”, he explained.

“Final Say” referendum

The Telegraph recently surveyed 1,500 members of the public about which path they preferred should May’s deal be turned down by MPs. Among the 5 options: renegotiations with Brussels, no-deal Brexit, a second referendum, a Norway-style deal and remaining in the EU.

Option 1: A second referendum

• 46% in favour
• 28% against
• 26% unsure

Option 2: Remaining in the EU

• 45% in favour
• 39% against
• 16% unsure

Option 3: further negotiations with the EU

• 45% in favour
• 34% against
• 21% unsure

Option 4: Norway-style deal (access to the single-market)

• 40% in favour
• 36% against
• 24% unsure

Option 5: No-deal Brexit

• 35% in favour
• 45% against
• 21% unsure

It seems, then, that a second referendum is the public’s preferred course of action, closely followed by remaining in the EU or renegotiating a deal. The Telegraph’s petition for a Final Say vote on a Brexit deal has gathered support from 1.1 million since June 2018.

A plea to reconsider Brexit from MEPs

130 members of European parliament, from every member country except Cyprus, have signed a heartfelt letter asking the British people to reconsider leaving the EU. The representatives, who come from liberal, conservative, socialist and green parties, explain they both respect and regret Britain’s decision to leave the EU, but that “any British decision to remain in the EU would be warmly welcomed by us and we would work with you to reform and improve the European Union, so that it works better in the interests of all citizens”.

Initiated by an Austrian MEP, the message says the Union is “looking with growing anxiety” at the events that have unfolded in Britain these past few months. “We are reluctant to intervene in your domestic politics, but we cannot help but notice that the opinion polls show a growing number of voters who want an opportunity to reconsider the Brexit decision, now that it is clear that Brexit is very different from the promises made by the Leave campaign nearly three years ago”, the letter reads.

Brexit extended to July 2019?

In light of Theresa May’s recent failures to pass her Brexit deal, it is unlikely the deadline to exit the EU on March 29th will be met. Indeed, Brussels expects the British PM to request an extension on Article 50 within the next few weeks. According to an EU official, “should the prime minister survive and inform us that she needs more time to win round parliament to a deal, a technical extension up to July will be offered”. In the event of a general election or second referendum, the deadline for the UK to withdraw from the EU would be extended even further.

Last Update on 14/01/19

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