Brexit Update: UK Parliament Votes for Extension and Against Referendum

 In Brexit

More votes yesterday in the British Parliament. Two important votes we want to specifically mention here. The MPs voted NO to another Brexit Referendum and YES to an extension of the Brexit deadline.

The UK needs to request an extension, and then all 27 EU member states need to say YES to that request. But what kind of extension? Word on the street in Brussel is that EU representatives are voicing questions like: “There has been nothing new coming out of all these votes. What solution does the UK have for the Brexit problem?” Whatever kind of extension May will ask for, the UK will have to make it very clear what the extension is for.

We will take you through the options:

A Short Extension

The deadline is extended until the end of April at the latest. In this case May puts the deal with EU up for a vote again and this time Parliament says YES. This outcome seems very unlikely.

A Medium Extension

May’s preferred extension ends at the end of June. This gives her time to renegotiate with both the EU and Parliament. The reason for choosing June is that the UK will take a decision before the new European Parliament is inaugurated in July. With this option, the UK doesn’t have to hold elections for the European Parliament.

The question with this option is, will May be able to convince the MPs to vote YES before then to the same deal they have said NO to earlier this week. The EU has already told May there is no more room for re-negotiating the deal that is on the table now.

A Long Extension

A long extension could take as long as two years. This gives the UK and the EU time to negotiate a trade deal. Another option is a new customs union. Both options solve the backstop issue: the problem of the potential border issues in Ireland.

No Deal

A No Deal Brexit is also still an option. Not a desirable one, but it may be unavoidable. If May can’t convince all 27 EU member states that an extension is the best option a No Deal Brexit will be there. This would then be on March 20, or maybe June 30, right before the new European Parliament is installed. On Thursday next week, May will meet with top-level EU officials to discuss the extension.

No Brexit

If the UK Parliament can’t agree on a deal there may not be a Brexit altogether. Parliament has decided that No Deal is not an option, so: no deal, no Brexit. This would mean either a new Brexit referendum or new elections in the UK. Both could mean no Brexit at all.

What Are the British Papers Saying?

The Guardian has made an overview of what the big news outlets in the UK are writing on the recent Brexit developments.

You can find it here.

What are the European Papers Saying?

Time Magazine has made an overview of what the big news outlets in the EU are writing on the recent Brexit developments.

You can find it here.

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