It seems this January has been a bad month for parliamentary set-ups around the world, with several governments facing shut-downs or legislative inactivity. The United Kingdom (UK) takes the cake for awkward parliamentary landmarks when on Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union (EU) was voted down disastrously.
The deadline for Brexit, March 29th 2019 is right around the corner, yet the only deal to leave the EU that the British government could come up in two years of negotiations was majorly rejected by the British parliament. It cannot be denied that the deal sought by Theresa May was highly unpopular- it was rejected by the parliament with an overwhelming margin of 230 votes, of which, 118 were from Mrs May’s own Conservative party.
What does this parliamentary dejection mean for Brexit and the future of the UK? There seem to be a few options on the table, yet none seem ideal. A possibility is that the parliament could pass a vote of no-confidence against May- which would force her to resign and consequently new elections would have to be held. A change of government could potentially mean that Brexit might never come into being at all as it is possible that a Labour government, under its leader Jeremy Corbyn would confine Brexit to the dustbin of history. However, this possibility is not likely- despite Conservative MPs voting against May’s deal, it is not probably they will vote for her resignation, and this vote of no-confidence will likely not pass.
However the other two options are not appealing either. May’s current government could pull a miracle and attain new terms for Brexit which are acceptable for the parliament- yet with the deadline looming ahead; it seems an extremely difficult task to do, especially with the EU giving a cold shoulder. The alternative is that UK leaves the EU without any formal agreement- this means UK would cut all ties with the EU overnight and lose the trade agreements it had with other countries as a member of the EU- an option which could be economically disastrous for the UK.
The next few weeks will reveal the direction the UK will go in- it could be drastically conservative or radically liberal. Whatever happens, Brexit teaches us a few lessons, mainly- right wing populist statements like America First or Brexit may seem like good slogans but are in reality difficult to implement and can lead to a host of problems.