More than once during the difficult past Brexit months the British Premier Theresa May has said that a deferment of the divorce day beyond the 29 March limit, will serve nothing. Actually, this is her only accurate assessment of the Brexit conundrum. Very simply because this crucial question has remained unresolved for 32 months after the June 2016 referendum. Logically, then, three more months until this June won’t change the basic political parameters of the deadlock. And the deadlock centers within her Tory party deep division.
Yet, last week, she offered to the deeply fragmented Parliament the option of a few months delay of the separation date. May was driven to this decision not because she thought it will resolve the Brexit dead-end, but to retain the initiative on Brexit and consequently remain as Prime Minister for two weeks more.
Salvaging the UK or the Party?
By the same token, she seeks to salvage her party from breaking up into hard Brexiteers and sensible politicians. Of the last category, half her government members, plus a good number of her Tory colleague MPs were ready to support an opposition parties’ proposal. All of them constitute a circumstantial parliamentary majority targeting to grab the Brexit initiative from 10 Downing Street in a vote next Wednesday and bestow it to Parliament.
Normally, the government proposes all laws to Parliament and the legislators can support or oppose them. However, a Parliamentary majority can overcome the government and legislate. In normal circumstances, this doesn’t occur because, in principle, the government is supported and controls the majority of the MPs. So, loosing the legislative initiative in a key issue like Brexit, can be interpreted as censure motion for 10 Downing Street, depriving the Prime Minister of her Parliamentary backing.
More futile votes
So, May preferred to avoid this Wednesday’s imminent devastating defeat. She gave more options to the revolting members of her government and the many other Parliamentarians, including the prospect of a few month delay of the Brexit day. May announced she will introduce two new Parliamentary votes on 13 and 14 March, if her new-old Brexit deal is again rejected on 12 March. This last eventuality is the most probable result. So, on 13 March the Parliament will be called to pass or reject a straight no-deal Brexit. If this dreadful prospect is rejected, the next day the Parliament will be given the option to vote on a delay of the Brexit day. The deferment of the Brexit date will just be for a few months, no later than next June.
According to the Parliamentary arithmetic formed during the past weeks, the most probable outcome will be the Brexit delay. This brings the whole issue to square one. The real options will remain exactly the same; a no-deal exit by default, a new referendum or a very soft Brexit – by remaining in the EU Customs Union – as the Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has proposed.
Until now, the British Parliament has rejected any Brexit option being tabled, but a concrete solution however soft or hard hasn’t been formulated. This doesn’t seem likely to change after three months, or for as long as the Tory party remains in one piece. The around sixty backbencher, super conservative and extreme right wing Brexiteer Tory MPs constitute the Party’s Achilles’ heel and keep threatening the UK and the EU with a catastrophe.
In short, Europe will most probably remain on tenterhooks for a few more months, waiting for the Conservative party to solve its identity problem. If the Prime Minister continues to soothe those 60 hard Brexiteer ultra conservative Eurosceptic Tory PMs, there won’t be a Brexit solution acceptable to the rest of the legislative. So, the only possibility is for those MPs to be thrown out from the Tory Party and be allowed to form a new extremist political group.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is their rightful leader, but his Palaeolithic political style won’t stand a chance in the greater picture. Rees-Mogg’s rise to prominence reminds of the humorous proverb ‘the higher the money ascends the more her bottom is exposed’. All May has to do to get rid of Rees-Moggers is to cooperate with the Labor Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn just once.
The gravity of the situation will justify her cooperation with the ‘enemy’ just for once. Salvaging the UK from disaster is not a small thing. There are so many more other issues distinguishing Labor and Tories, that such a cooperative May’s step will be deeply appreciated by the majority of the Brits. Only the few followers of the Rees…Moggers will not understand. Not to forget, the mainland Europeans will demand a practical plan for a Brexit deal, in order to accept the delay the UK is to ask for. Only a common May – Corbyn proposal can guarantee that.