Brexit Update, 15 April 2019

Last Wednesday (10 April), the Prime Minister agreed with the EU Council to extend Brexit negotiations until the end of October – with a break clause should Parliament approve a deal before then. This was done after Parliament had repeatedly rejected both leaving without a deal and the Prime Minister’s deal – it has also voted against No Brexit, a second referendum, a customs union, Labour’s policy (customs union and single market alignment), and several other policies to boot. As previously discussed on this site, I supported the PM’s deal and keeping No Deal on the table. I oppose a second referendum because it would cause huge anger amongst those who voted to Leave, create further division in the country, and strengthen the argument for another referendum in Scotland.

The current deadlock is deeply unfortunate (and extremely frustrating) and is partially due to the Hung Parliament in which we find ourselves and the fact that both major parties are heavily divided. Unless Parliament can find a compromise which can carry a majority it is highly likely that this impasse will persist and that the UK will end up accepting a further extension to the negotiations when the current deadline expires at the end of October. This is why the talks between the Prime Minister and the Labour Party are necessary – without an agreement across the divide the current situation looks doomed to continue.

If a compromise is found between the two sides then whatever solution is hit upon will be brought before the House of Commons with a view to passing the legislation necessary to take us out of the EU. If no such compromise is forthcoming then the Government have offered to present a small number of options for the future relationship that will be put to the House in a series of votes to determine the best course to pursue. The Government has said that it is prepared to abide by the result of those votes – provided the Opposition does too.

Hopefully these mechanisms will soon provide a route by which Parliament can fulfil the result of the referendum, take the UK out of the EU and allow the country to move on.