Theresa May hat die Kontrolle über den Brexit verloren

Premierministerin May hat die Kontrolle über den Brexit-Prozess verloren. Damit steigt das Risiko eines No-Deal-Brexit, obwohl das britische Parlament eigentlich dagegen gestimmt hat.

Following yesterday’s second heavy defeat for her European Union (EU)
withdrawal agreement, Prime Minister May has lost control of the Brexit
process. This has increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit, despite
parliamentary opposition to such an outcome.

There are three
ways to avoid a no-deal Brexit. The first is for the hardliners of the
Conservative European Research Group (ERG) and Northern Irish Democratic
Unionist Party (DUP) to abandon their opposition to May’s deal. They
won’t. The ERG hardliners desire no deal. The core members have fought
for a complete break from the EU for 30 years and have never compromised
with the party leadership. They would prefer Brexit to go down and to
cry betrayal rather than accept what they view as a watered-down

The second possibility is that a House of Commons
majority coalesces around a new agreement involving a softer form of
Brexit, in which the UK stays in the customs union and single market.
Such an initiative, however, requires a government to push it forward. A
Conservative-led administration attempting to do so would split the
party irretrievably and lose its majority. It is not even clear that a
majority exists across the Commons for a soft Brexit – MPs representing
leave constituencies could find it impossible to support an agreement
allowing unlimited EU immigration, which was a key issue in the
referendum campaign.

The third possibility is a long extension to
Article 50 to allow time for a new consensus to form, possibly
involving another referendum with several options for voters to rank.
Again, many MPs would regard this as failing to respect the original
referendum result and would oppose it. More importantly, the EU might
not accede. A long extension would require the UK to participate in
European Parliament (EP) elections in May, possibly resulting in an
influx of troublesome UK MEPs from a new Brexit party. It would also
allow the UK more time to prepare for a no-deal exit, thereby reducing
the EU’s leverage in future trade talks. Many EU businesses, moreover,
have already implemented contingency plans for no deal and might prefer
this to go ahead this year rather than suffer a further long period of
debilitating uncertainty.

A reasonable central scenario is that
the UK requests and is granted an extension of Article 50 to June,
avoiding a need for UK participation in the EP elections. May uses this
extra time to heap pressure on the ERG / DUP to accede to her deal but
with no success. Parliamentary attempts to forge an alternative deal,
meanwhile, run aground. Preparations continue for a no-deal Brexit on
both sides of the channel, with growing political and public awareness
that such an outcome is likely.