United Kingdom: What's next in London?

The British House of Commons has rejected the Brexit deal by Theresa May. A vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister has been requested. Which options does she have left?

The British Parliament on the banks of the Thames in London
© Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images

The British Parliament has that negotiated with the EU
Brexit Agreement rejected by a clear majority
, 432 MPs and 202 voters voted against the withdrawal agreement
for this. "The house has spoken and the government will listen," said
Prime Minister Theresa May after the vote. But what follows this announcement?

What is the vote of no confidence in the opposition?

Jeremy Corbyn, opposition leader and Labor leader, has filed a no-confidence motion against the May administration. Corbyn announced this in Parliament on Tuesday after May lost the Brexit vote and agreed to face such a vote on Wednesday.

With the vote of no confidence, Labor hopes for early elections. However, it is questionable whether Labor can muster enough votes against May. The Northern Ireland DUP, which supports Mays minority government, has already publicly pledged its support to the prime minister – provided she is re-negotiating with the EU. "The Prime Minister needs to go back to the European Union and demand a fundamental change in the withdrawal agreement," said DUP chief Arlene Foster. The European Research Group (ERG), a hardliner group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, also says they support May – even though they voted against their deal. That reported the Guardian, The ERG had initiated a party-internal vote of no confidence against May in December and had failed thereby.

Should May survive the vote of confidence in parliament, Corbyn would be under pressure to back the demand for a second Brexit referendum. He has not ruled out this option, but has made it conditional that a new election is impossible.

In any case, the reorganization of the EU would not change the EU's exit – the date of March 29, 2019 remains unchanged. Unless there is a speedy new solution, the EU and the UK will now renegotiate their plans for the no-deal scenario. In other words, both sides will try to avert the greatest damage to their citizens through individual agreements. However, the EU and the internal market countries want to avoid legal certainty and short-term, temporary memberships.


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What are the chances for a second referendum?

So far, there is no majority in parliament for a second Brexit referendum. It is also unclear which questions should be presented to the voters. At the moment, three claims are conceivable: Theresa May's deal, not a deal or staying in the EU. The electoral commission does not want to complicate referendums any further and insists on two answer options.

In June 2016, a narrow majority of the British spoke out in favor of leaving the EU. According to surveys, hardly anything has changed since then. Therefore it is questionable how a second referendum would turn out. Critics fear that a second referendum would deepen the split in British society.


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Can the deadline for leaving the EU be extended?

Maybe yes. From Brussels it is said, which planned for the 29th of March United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum is now considered a very unlikely date. A "technical" extension of the exit process by July is a likely first step. This would give May time to revise the exit agreement and secure a majority. Should May "tell us that she needs more time to win Parliament for a deal, a technical extension will be offered by July," he quotes Guardian an EU representative.

An extension, however, stands in the way of the election to the European Parliament on 26 May. Great Britain would have to participate in this election if it has not formally withdrawn from the Union by then. However, how the British authorities are to organize this election on such short notice and who is going to make that choice is completely open. Also, very few people are likely to participate if shortly thereafter their country leaves the Union.


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What would a withdrawal without agreement mean for Great Britain?

In the event of an unregulated exit, grave consequences for the UK and parts of the economy in the EU riparian states are threatened. The British would no longer be part of countless agreements and agreements from one day to the next. Above all, they would be without the free trade agreements that the EU has concluded for its member countries.

Trade would have to follow the rules of the World Trade Organization. This means that the EU's external tariffs would apply to the UK as a third country. At the same time, customs and border controls would be required immediately, especially in ports such as Dover and Calais.

However, both the EU and Britain have taken numerous precautions to avoid the worst. The UK will immediately and unilaterally and voluntarily comply with a large number of EU regulations in order to be able to continue to act with the EU internal market. In important areas such as air traffic and medical care, an agreement with the EU is underway. Nonetheless, representatives from politics and business are urgently warning against such a scenario.


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