European Union is in Control of Brexit

Recall the “Leave” campaign’s repeated slogan in the June 2016 Brexit Referendum: “Take back control”.

Almost three years after a majority of UK voters chose to leave the European Union, Parliament has created the irony of ironies. It is the EU that is now in control of Brexit.

MPs have rejected every single soft Brexit option, although “UK to remain in EU customs” option lost by only three votes.

Attorney General Cox explains the Law

Prime Minister Theresa May and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox appealed to MPs across the Commons to vote for withdrawal on Friday, March 29. They said that it was essential as the EU and UK had agreed that Britain had “the legal right” to withdraw on its own terms for a Brexit extension until May 22. That would give the government and Parliament time to debate and execute “The European Withdrawal Act 2018”. But Parliament rejected the opportunity. Due to opposition from the Labour Party, intransigent Tory Brexit zealots and Northern Ireland’s Democrat Unionists, the government’s withdrawal motion lost by 58 votes.

Despite the Brexit chaos, the pound is bottoming against the euro. The reason is that economies on both sides of the channel are weakening. In the event of “no deal” the two parties are likely to agree to an adjustment period. Without that the recession in Italy would spread to other eurozone nations.

The EU is now firmly in control of the Brexit process

The government, backed by Parliament must come up with a firm proposal by April 11. If it does, Mrs May will be allowed to beg the EU for a lengthy extension. The proviso is that the UK participates in European elections between May 23 and May 26 this year. The UK would have 72 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and will remain in the EU during the lengthy extension. The UK would continue to contribute to the EU budget. It could hold another referendum on whether to leave or remain in the Union, hold a general election or agree to a softer Brexit.

EU leaders will be meeting on Wednesday April 10. If any of the 27 EU leaders reject the beleaguered PM’s withdrawal proposals, the UK would have two options. Revoke Brexit unilaterally or leave the Union without a deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the EU needed to accelerate its plans to counter a UK crash-out with no deal. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that unless Britain came up with a workable proposal, there would be a “hard” Brexit. The European Commission is also warned that a no-deal was likely.

Election only likely after a new Tory leader is chosen

Many thousands of “Remain” and “Leave” supporters have been protesting outside Parliament. Local and foreign business people and investors are fretting that uncertainty will drag on, hampering the economy and investment. The pound slid and recovered slightly, but is still languishing by around 20 per cent below the US and Singapore dollars’ pre-2016 referendum peaks.

The pound also appears to be bottoming against the Singapore dollar, but the devaluation has been extensive.

In the meantime, Tory MPs fear an election and want Mrs May to soldier on. Mrs In the 2017 election, May proved to be a poor campaigner. Thus Tories’ preference is for an election to take place under a new leader. Bookies’ favourites are Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, Boris Johnson chief Brexitier and Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary.

 © Copyright Neil Behrmann. This article was first published in The Business Times, Singapore
Neil Behrmann
is London correspondent of The Business Times. Jack of Diamonds his thriller on global diamond mining and smuggling, has recently been published. It is the sequel to the thriller, Trader Jack, The Story of Jack Miner. See reviews of both books:

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