Brexistentialism: Love’s Labour’s Lost?
Britain has never before seen such a major constitutional turmoil!
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main Opposition Labour Party, had tabled a no confidence motion against the Theresa May government on January 15 immediately after the PM lost a crucial vote by a margin of 230 on her Brexit plans in the House of Commons, the Lower House of the British Parliament. The lawmakers voted by 432 to 202 to reject the deal. Corbyn tried his luck with the vote of no confidence, but May managed to survive the motion by a majority of just 19 on January 16. The British parliamentarians voted to defeat the motion, raised by the Labour leader, by 325 votes to 306. After surviving the vote of no confidence, the premier announced that her government would continue to work to deliver on Brexit, saying that it was their duty to find a way forward that was approved by the House.
Political experts are of the opinion that PM May should consider the government’s crushing defeat on her Brexit divorce deal as a warning! In British history, May sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any prime minister. The then Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald had lost a vote in the Parliament by a margin of 166.
Although PM May has managed to survive the no confidence motion, she knows that she will have to cross another hurdle. Now, the prime minister will have to defer the deadline to start the Brexit process! So far, Britain has not raised the idea of extending Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) that gives any EU member-state the right to quit unilaterally and outlines the procedure for doing so. A couple of years ago, London announced that it would leave the 28-member bloc on March 29, 2019. Keeping in mind the current political scenario, it’s not possible for Britain to leave the Union in two months. So, the pro-Brexit leaders want to extend the Article 50 of the deal, with the March 29 deadline just weeks away.
While tabling the no confidence motion in the Parliament on January 15, Labour leader Corbyn said that Britons should get another chance to make a final decision. However, Labour MP David Lammy urged Corbyn to move towards a second referendum after PM May survived the no confidence motion, saying: “At that point, he should then follow the overwhelming feeling of the party and party members, which is to arrive in a place where we put this back to the British people in a people’s vote.” He added: “If he vacillates and sits on the fence, I’m afraid he is going to get splinters in places he doesn’t want.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan, too, is in favour of a second referendum. “The government needs to withdraw Article 50 immediately. If we cannot have a General Election – the British public must have the final say – with the option to stay in the EU,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Conservative Party is against the second referendum, as it backs the idea of extending Article 50. First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon said that it was time to “stop the clock” on Brexit and “put this issue back to the electorate”.
The EU is closely monitoring the development in London. EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has cancelled all his important meetings, as the senior Luxembourgish politician knows that he might have to sit with the British PM. Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”
Supporters of both the pro- and anti-Brexit camps have started gathering in front of the Parliament. While some say “Brexit means Brexit”, others say “Stop the Brexit mess”! Not only the Parliament, but also the entire nation becomes so divided. There is only one question in everyone’s mind: What’s next?
And the answer is: Everything is possible!
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