It's tough to see any way out of the Brexit mess

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

A fresh look at the options

A fresh look at the optionsI'm less-optimistic than ever that there is a way out of the Brexit debacle. I had believed that May had a good chance of getting her deal through parliament at crunch time largely because she herself seemed to believe she would get the votes.

Her belief (and mind) was misplaced. The DUP was clear today and it would take a remarkable fliip-flop for them to support her deal now. Without the DUP it's dead.

Now the only words left to be written in this chapter of Brexit are who to blame. May is done. This is her deal and she's the leader and it's not getting through. She has no cards left to play.

So what happens next?

1) Another referendum
The 5 million people who signed the latest petition sure would like to see it happen. For me, it sets a troubling precedent and will undoubtedly alienate many voters and politicians. The original vote was 52-48%, a margin of 1.2 million votes. The only way I could see to salvage it would be a choice between May's deal and a no-deal Brexit as the options in a referendum, binding parliament to the result.

2) A leadership challenge
If May steps down, someone will have to replace her. Is there a candidate out there who can united the Conservative party into a viable government long enough to execute a deal (similar to this one)? Or some other agenda?

3) A general election
If the DUP isn't going to support May on this do they really have a coalition at all? Even more importantly, is the Conservative party in any way united? The amount of backstabbing in the Conservative and Liberal parties is mind-blowing. One party with a strong majority may be the only thing that can get the country back on the rails, at least for a few years.

4) Delay and pray
This is the worst of all options. The UK could extend Article 50 for another year or revoke it altogether without a real plan about what to do next. That would prolong the period of uncertainty, harden all sides and bring us no closer to a solution.

I firmly believe that cable will eventually get back to 1.60 but how long are we willing to wait and how much pain are we willing to take before some sense to returns to parliament and the country?

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