The Corner


Brexit: More Chaos and Confusion

Theresa May has not given up on her deal. Next week, she will make a third attempt to get her deal with the EU through parliament, the government has said. The date for “meaningful vote” number three has not yet been set.

May’s announcement comes ahead of the upcoming vote, originally scheduled for today, on whether to delay Britain’s departure from the EU.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who rejected May’s last two deals because of the backstop (EU customs union) arrangement, are meeting with the government to find a solution.

Some members of the European Research Group, a hard-line pro-Brexit Tory faction, have already voted with the prime minister on her deal. Others have said they would consider doing so if Brexit seemed to be in danger.

Um. It is in danger.

On Wednesday, parliament voted on whether a “no deal” Brexit should remain the legal default. Initially, the prime minister had said this would be a “free vote,” (meaning Tories could vote however they liked). It is clear that she and most of her cabinet oppose leaving the EU without a deal (i.e. “no deal”).

Unbelievably, at the last minute, the government changed its position, causing confusion and chaos in the Commons, and asking Tories to vote against blocking no deal. Presumably, the government realized that giving up the possibility of no deal would be giving up control of the Brexit process.

Too little, too late.

The updated motion — a blanket rejection of no-deal Brexit — passed 321 to 278, with a majority of 43.

NB: In another vote on Wednesday, parliament rejected the Malthouse Compromise, which was an amendment calling for a short delay to Brexit followed by a “managed no-deal.” This lost 364 to 164.

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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