What's next for Brexit?

Members of Parliament have rejected Theresa May's withdrawal agreement for the third time, plunging Brexit into further uncertainty.

Posted: Mar 29, 2019 5:20 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2019 5:20 PM

The question everyone is asking in Westminster after the third defeat of Theresa May's Brexit plan is, what happens next? The honest answer is no one really knows for sure. But there are some fixed points and other things that can be inferred.

The next week is crucial -- if a credible alternative to May's deal is not found, the UK will crash out of the European Union without a deal on April 12.

In a statement directly after her deal was defeated, May indicated that the parliamentary process was running out of road. "I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House," she said.

However she indicated that the government would allow the process of "indicative votes" -- outside the control of ministers -- to continue next week.

Will Parliament agree an alternative plan?

Last Wednesday a group of lawmakers led by a veteran Conservative, Oliver Letwin, took control of parliamentary business in an unprecedented process. Members of Parliament debated and voted on eight alternative options.

While there was no majority for any of them, a plan for the UK to remain in the EU's customs union failed by only six votes. A proposal for a second referendum gained the most "yes" votes overall.

That process continues on Monday -- and Letwin has indicated he wishes to hold a further day of debate on Wednesday. Lawmakers are now busy revising the plans to see if they can be made more likely to pass. Some may be combined with others.

It's possible that, by the end of Wednesday, Parliament will finally coalesce around one option.

What happens then?

If the indicative votes provide some clarity, the Prime Minister could, conceivably, ask Parliament to choose between her plan and the winner of the indicative votes. It's not entirely clear how that would work.

But May left open the possibility of pursuing an alternative plan in her statement on Friday. "We will have to agree an alternative way forward," she said.

That comes with caveats. "The European Union has been clear that any further extension will need to have a clear purpose and will need to be agreed unanimously by the heads of the other 27 member States ahead of 12 April," she said.

"It is also almost certain to involve the UK being required to hold European parliamentary elections."

May has previously said that she would not lead the UK into European elections. But she has changed her mind before, and she could argue -- as she did when she was forced to seek an extension -- that the circumstances have forced her hand.

But in the wake of Friday's vote, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that another extension request would not automatically be approved, and could only be considered if an "alternative plan is credible (and) supported by a majority in the British Parliament."

Will there be a general election?

If May can't bring herself to implement a Brexit plan that includes a customs union, and/or a second referendum -- both of which she has bitterly opposed in the past -- her only other option would be to call a general election.

That's not as easy as it sounds. The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act requires a two-thirds majority of Parliament to agree to a general election.

It's not entirely clear that May's Conservative lawmakers want an election, fearing they would be blamed for their chaotic handling of Brexit. They certainly don't want May to lead them into any new vote, after her disastrous performance last time around.

The opposition Labour party, however, relishes the prospect of an election, hoping to capitalize on the uncertainty.

Could the UK crash out of the EU without a deal?

If the UK hasn't gotten its act together by April 12, no longer delay is agreed and no Brexit deal is passed in Parliament, the UK will crash out without a deal.

The European Commission warned on Friday of an increased risk of a chaotic Brexit. "A 'no-deal' scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario," it said in a statement.

The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, said: "Ireland has been preparing intensively for a no-deal scenario. But no one should underestimate the difficulties that a no-deal would present, for all of us, including the UK. It is not clear that the UK has fully understood that no-deal is not off the agenda. Rather, it is a growing possibility."

Will Theresa May resign?

The Prime Minister said this week that she would quit if Parliament passed her deal. Technically, with lawmakers having failed to approve her Brexit plan, her offer falls. But most commentators think she has used up all her political capital, and one way or another, her days appear to be numbered.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56560

Reported Deaths: 1656
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18009819
Ramsey6944261
Dakota3991103
Anoka3365113
Stearns283120
Washington191743
Nobles17466
Olmsted162923
Scott139014
Mower10812
Rice9998
Blue Earth8525
Wright8135
Carver7792
Clay74540
Kandiyohi6761
Sherburne6497
St. Louis43619
Todd4202
Lyon4163
Freeborn3541
Steele3301
Nicollet31213
Benton3063
Watonwan2980
Winona24716
Crow Wing21313
Martin2045
Le Sueur2011
Beltrami1930
Chisago1791
Goodhue1768
Otter Tail1763
Cottonwood1710
Becker1431
Pipestone1439
Unassigned14040
McLeod1380
Itasca13212
Polk1313
Douglas1300
Waseca1280
Pine1270
Carlton1250
Dodge1230
Murray1221
Isanti1100
Chippewa981
Brown852
Faribault830
Meeker832
Morrison831
Wabasha810
Sibley792
Koochiching743
Rock740
Pennington721
Jackson700
Mille Lacs653
Fillmore610
Renville595
Cass582
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau460
Pope430
Houston390
Norman340
Redwood300
Kanabec291
Hubbard280
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Aitkin270
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake200
Lake180
Clearwater150
Stevens150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45774

Reported Deaths: 883
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9723203
Woodbury365151
Black Hawk300362
Linn210887
Johnson193315
Dallas178935
Buena Vista178512
Scott159312
Dubuque153729
Marshall138924
Pottawattamie121723
Story110914
Wapello84932
Muscatine82648
Webster7255
Crawford7193
Sioux5952
Cerro Gordo57617
Tama53729
Warren5281
Jasper45524
Plymouth4438
Wright4431
Louisa37914
Dickinson3754
Clinton3173
Washington28710
Hamilton2411
Boone2282
Franklin2205
Bremer1877
Clarke1863
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1650
Shelby1611
Marion1530
Allamakee1514
Poweshiek1468
Benton1431
Jackson1411
Des Moines1392
Mahaska13617
Floyd1292
Guthrie1265
Jones1242
Cedar1201
Hancock1172
Butler1142
Henry1133
Pocahontas1131
Buchanan1111
Lyon1020
Madison1022
Clayton983
Cherokee971
Harrison970
Lee953
Taylor930
Humboldt921
Delaware901
Monona900
Iowa891
Winneshiek851
Calhoun822
Mills820
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto790
Kossuth780
Jefferson770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page760
Winnebago760
Grundy741
Union701
Monroe677
Worth610
Chickasaw510
Cass481
Davis481
Howard480
Lucas454
Montgomery433
Appanoose423
Greene380
Fremont350
Van Buren321
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur220
Adair210
Ringgold211
Adams160
Wayne161
Unassigned80
Rochester
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Mason City
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 53°
Albert Lea
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Austin
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 54°
Rain returns for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Gold and Silver Prices Going Up

Image

Memorial Bicycle Ride

Image

MSHSL votes to postpone football and volleyball

Image

Rochester Public Schools survey parent opinions about options

Image

Waterloo hands Rochester 13th straight loss

Image

Mason City Fire Department burn training

Image

Coronavirus impact on the 2020 census

Image

Inside Graham Park testing site

Image

Farmer's Market Sees Increased Support

Image

Splash Pad Wanted in Rochester

Community Events