What happens now with Brexit? May's big defeat leaves no clear options

British MPs have voted down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan in a record margin of 432 votes to 202.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:54 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2019 10:34 AM

<p>Tuesday's vote in the UK's House of Commons was supposed to finally provide some clarity on Brexit. In reality, it told us very little -- beyond two uncomfortable truths.</p><p>First, we now know for certain what had been assumed to be the case for some time: A majority of UK lawmakers, on all sides of the Brexit divide, so disliked the deal May had cooked up with the European Union that they were willing to kill it. Her government <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/15/uk/brexit-vote-theresa-may-gbr-intl/index.html" target="_blank">suffered a record loss of 432 votes to 202</a> -- a margin of 230 that puts it in the history books.</p><p>Even the most optimistic members of May's inner circle didn't think the government could win the so-called "meaningful vote." In some respects, the point of holding the vote wasn't to win it, but to drag MPs into the open and make clear to the EU the strength of opposition to May's deal. It was only ever going to be a numbers game -- how thumping would the defeat be?</p><p>Second, the UK is still on track to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 -- with or without a deal. That's because on March 29, 2017, May <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/28/europe/article-50-brexit/index.html" target="_blank">delivered a notification</a> to the EU Council President, Donald Tusk, under article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.</p><p>Article 50 is a legal mechanism that sets into motion a process by which, after two years, a member state legally ends its EU membership either with an agreed exit deal or the immediate termination of all the shared legal arrangements that accompany membership. Nothing about Tuesday's vote has altered that trajectory.</p><p>Coming back to the first point, there is a serious question that must now be asked of the UK's political class. We know what they are against, but what are they for?</p><p>Of the many Brexit options on the table, we are none the wiser as to which can command the parliamentary majority that May seeks to secure.</p><p>This leaves parliament -- and by extension, the government -- in one big mess, with few clear options.</p><p>After the vote, May challenged the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, to put forward a motion of no-confidence in the government. He did, and it will be debated on Wednesday.</p><p><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/uk/may-vote-of-no-confidence-gbr-intl/index.html" target="_blank">It is far from certain that May will lose this vote</a>. Just because her own Conservative MPs hate her Brexit deal, it would be foolish to assume that they would bring down their own government. But if they do, then May -- or another leader -- has 14 days to try again to win a confidence vote.</p><p>If that fails, then the next stage would most likely be a general election. Both main parties, one can only assume, would run on a promise that they would settle Brexit once and for all.</p><p>The trouble is, the process of holding a general election would take longer than the 73 days left until March 29. So unless someone extends the article 50 process in the meantime, it's hard to see how the UK doesn't simply crash out without a deal.</p><p>If May survives the confidence vote, then the most obvious next step is returning to Brussels and getting further assurances from the EU on the future relationship, pertaining in particular to the Irish Border "backstop" (which if you are so inclined, you can <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/uk/brexit-negotiations-analysis-intl/index.html" target="_blank">read more about here</a>.)</p><p>The thing is, the deal May has struck with the EU is essentially only an initial divorce agreement. It gets the UK over the Brexit deadline and into a holding pattern, where the two parties then enter negotiations about what comes next. Beyond that, most options -- except for no-deal and remaining in the EU, -- are still on the table.</p><p>The EU has been consistent since the withdrawal agreement negotiations ended that there would be no further concessions. Not everyone believes her, it would seem, but the view from Brussels is solid. As one EU source familiar with the negotiations said to me, the mood in Brussels is that after losing the vote, "May will get on a plane and demand more from us instead of getting her own s*** together."</p><p>Not everyone in Westminster believes this. Some people are confident that if May threatens to walk away, having proved once and for all that her parliament hates the deal, the EU will blink.</p><p>It's an optimistic and risky strategy, given the looming Brexit deadline.</p><p>So what has the meaningful vote taught us? Very little that we didn't already know: without parliament getting its act together, Britain and the European Union could be heading for quite a messy split.</p><p>It's nothing short of staggering the that so close to the deadline, the 66 million citizens of the UK, the millions more across continent and everyone else that stands to lose out if this horror show isn't resolved soon.</p>

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 39589

Reported Deaths: 1523
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12703789
Ramsey5013230
Dakota247993
Stearns242919
Anoka2293110
Nobles16726
Olmsted116817
Washington116340
Mower9652
Rice8598
Scott7834
Clay59538
Kandiyohi5821
Blue Earth5102
Wright4925
Carver4171
Todd4022
Lyon3272
Sherburne3275
Freeborn2980
Watonwan2400
Steele2391
Benton2213
St. Louis19816
Nicollet17612
Martin1715
Cottonwood1370
Goodhue1328
Winona13115
Le Sueur1101
Pine1100
Crow Wing10912
Chisago1021
Otter Tail1001
McLeod940
Dodge920
Carlton880
Unassigned8738
Polk842
Chippewa791
Isanti760
Waseca710
Douglas660
Murray660
Itasca6512
Pipestone632
Meeker611
Morrison611
Faribault600
Becker570
Jackson550
Sibley552
Pennington520
Brown372
Renville362
Beltrami350
Wabasha350
Mille Lacs342
Rock310
Fillmore300
Yellow Medicine300
Houston280
Swift231
Norman210
Wilkin213
Redwood200
Cass192
Big Stone170
Grant170
Koochiching171
Roseau170
Aitkin150
Kanabec151
Wadena150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln110
Mahnomen101
Clearwater90
Hubbard80
Lake60
Stevens60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32533

Reported Deaths: 735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6827181
Woodbury326444
Black Hawk235558
Buena Vista172411
Johnson13638
Linn132382
Dallas129829
Marshall106319
Scott88310
Story8194
Dubuque77122
Pottawattamie75812
Wapello71231
Crawford6793
Muscatine67544
Sioux4880
Tama47329
Wright3881
Louisa36313
Jasper32917
Plymouth3275
Warren2971
Dickinson2823
Webster2524
Washington2479
Cerro Gordo2011
Hamilton1921
Boone1571
Clay1421
Allamakee1354
Clarke1343
Mahaska11817
Shelby1170
Clinton1151
Poweshiek1078
Carroll1041
Pocahontas1011
Bremer987
Franklin980
Des Moines942
Emmet910
Henry883
Cedar851
Hardin830
Taylor810
Cherokee791
Monona770
Floyd742
Marion740
Benton691
Guthrie694
Jones650
Osceola640
Sac640
Jefferson620
Iowa611
Buchanan601
Butler602
Humboldt571
Calhoun552
Hancock541
Harrison540
Lee542
Delaware531
Fayette520
Monroe517
Madison492
Lyon470
Clayton463
Mills430
Winneshiek430
Davis421
Palo Alto420
Mitchell410
Grundy400
Howard370
Jackson370
Kossuth370
Union360
Lucas314
Winnebago300
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Cass240
Ida230
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Keokuk201
Page200
Unassigned200
Worth200
Adair170
Audubon161
Ringgold150
Decatur120
Montgomery102
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont80
Rochester
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 74°
Mason City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Austin
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Heat Advisory in effect until 7pm
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Reopening NIACC Safely

Image

Social Justice Program Gets Underway

Image

Group gathers to pray for racial justice

Image

Prep athletes eager to get back into the weight room

Image

Sean's 6pm Weather 7/8

Image

Bishop writes to ask for clemency for Dustin Honken

Image

Catch a ride to stay cool

Image

Free masks in Rochester

Image

Boys & Girls Club back open

Image

Rochester Elementary School releases plans

Community Events