The Deadline Looms Near
UK has been set a 12 April deadline to either pass the Brexit deal agreed upon with Brussels, settle on an alternative or leave the EU without an agreement, commonly known as “no-deal Brexit”. If UK leaves with “no-deal”, there would be no transitional period and EU laws would stop applying to UK immediately. The consequences are expected to be disastrous, with food prices expected to rise, and custom checks likely to cost businesses billions of pounds. Hence, the best possible outcome would be to leave with a deal.
However, the parliament is unable to come to an consensus on a deal. With the MPs having rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal three times, time is running out, and fast.
A Rollercoaster of Emotions
On Monday (1 April), the UK parliament voted between four Brexit options, with a “partial Brexit”, a potential second referendum and the prevention of a “no-deal Brexit”, including a final vote to scrap Brexit altogether amongst them. The parliament failed to reach a majority. The option that came closest to being passed was for the UK to remain in the EU Customs Union.
The next day, the cabinet met for eight hours straight for crisis talks. Theresa May met with the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the Brexit deal. This was met with outrage from her own party who felt that she would “agree with the Labour Party’s vision for an ultrasoft version of Brexit”.
On Wednesday, shortly before midnight, MPs voted for a bill to force May to ask for an extension for the Brexit process beyond the 12 April deadline. The bill passed by a single vote. This brings the UK a step away from the disastrous “no-deal” by giving them more time to negotiate.
What Happens Next?
On 10 April, May has to present a new Brexit plan to the EU leaders at a summit in Brussels to persuade them to a Brexit deadline extension. In light of the upcoming EU elections, the EU is unlikely to grant another extension. The fate of Brexit is still precarious.