The Brexit mess just got even messierJanuary 16, 2019
Britain’s House of Commons rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan Tuesday by a thumping 432-202. This, the most crushing loss by a UK government in modern times, leaves the already divided country in a state of even greater confusion.
No one’s sure what will happen now.
If May survives a no-confidence vote Wednesday, as expected, she’ll have just a few days to submit an alternative plan for leaving the European Union.
But she plainly has no Plan B, though Britain is scheduled to exit the EU on March 29. That deadline may be extended — but kicking the can won’t change much, since the EU refuses to offer the significant concessions needed to win Parliament’s approval.
Which leaves the nation looking at either a “hard Brexit,” with no divorce deal — or no Brexit at all.
We supported the 2016 vote that narrowly approved Brexit, believing it would leave Britain free to make its own decisions on key issues and also free from stifling EU over-regulation. But May’s plan would leave the UK within the EU’s economic orbit, yet with no ability to influence EU policy.
Little wonder, then, that it drew a huge thumbs-down across the spectrum, including much of May’s own Conservative party.
That left her with little to offer but the threat of widespread chaos and economic pain amid a “hard Brexit” — though she herself has said “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
It would be rough indeed, but at this point every potential risk is countered by even greater risks. (That includes staying in the increasingly troubled EU.)
The only widely held consensus is that May’s handling of it all has been abysmal. Yet Britain must muddle forward and find some way out of this mess. Weirdly enough, it may even keep muddling under May.
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