When Does the Curtain Fall on Theresa May?

456563

British Prime Minister Theresa May is under intense pressure to resign. Although it is probably too late, May is apparently now “listening to colleagues” about her Brexit withdrawal bill. She has halted plans to publish the legislation on Friday and will revise the bill again before it is published and debated before a vote in early June. However, it is unclear if that vote will even take place with Tory opposition deepening. On Tuesday, Brexit supporters were infuriated when May outlined a revised Brexit deal that would allow MPs to vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum. That point has triggered a near-revolt in her cabinet which is threatening to escalate.

To complicate matters even more, European Parliamentary voting has started today in the United Kingdom. The election is anticipated to bring a major victory for Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party. The chaos surrounding May’s withdrawal deal this week has been a gift for Farage. If his party wins big in the EU elections it could be disastrous for the Conservatives, and end up bringing about May’s resignation despite her efforts to preserve her position. If the EU parliamentary election results are as bad for Conservatives as feared, May could be forced to resign as the party leader by Monday at the latest.

Regardless of how the next few days play out, Theresa May’s time at 10 Downing Street is evidently coming to an end.

Brexit Vote Update: May’s Deal is Defeated Again

4564564463654

Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal deal with the European Union has been soundly defeated again. MPs rejected it for the second time today by 391-242. This was a smaller defeat than the first vote in January, but the margin is meaningless at this point. May’s Brexit strategy now lay in tatters, and Britain’s exit from the EU, scheduled to take place at the end of the month, appears likely to be a chaotic endeavor.

The next step will be a vote on whether Britain should leave without a deal, or if Brexit should be postponed. This upcoming vote might very well prove to be more critical than the one today. The concerns, and fears that a potential no-deal exit scenario are now being countered by equally passionate feelings of anxiety and suspicions that an Article 50 extension will eventually lead to a possible second referendum. Brexiteers are dead set against allowing another national referendum to take place. In the view of many Brexit supporters Britons have made their choice clear and it is up to the government to turn the wishes of the people into a reality.

At the center of the bedlam in London is the Prime Minister. Despite her best efforts, her government has suffered a second defeat. May’s power, and authority have been diminished and another no-confidence vote remains possible. Her political future remains very uncertain.

International leaders have started reacting to the vote results. Not surprisingly, European leaders are publicly quite disappointed at how the vote has played out. Now the leaders of EU member-states are beginning to circle the wagons, so to speak, in an effort to minimize the blowback that will arise from a no-deal British departure. As far as the EU is concerned, Brussels has done everything possible to bring about a solution acceptable to both sides and Britain has turned in down.

Perhaps it was Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s words which best describe the sentiment on the continent at the moment:  “We regret the decision of the British Parliament despite the EU’s efforts to achieve the best possible agreement. The European project must move forward to ensure freedom, stability and prosperity. We need pro-European governments. Let’s protect Europe so that Europe will protect us.”

Brexit’s Day of Decision Looms

56354553

The fate of Brexit Withdrawal Agreement crafted by Theresa May and her European Union counterparts will be decided when the House of Commons votes on it Tuesday. The end result of tomorrow’s vote is not expected to favor May and the government. Opposition to the deal has not softened since May called off the vote last month. She could postpone the vote again if she wishes too, however, such a move would not help her cause at this point. She has staked the future of the government, as well as her own political future, on Tuesday’s outcome. If it goes in her favor, May will enjoy a major victory and walk away with a large amount of political capital in her pocket. Should the more likely opposite result come about, May will have to take her medicine, so to speak, and accept the results of the vote, and the consequences it brings about.

Those possible consequences are what have many Britons on edge at the moment. May’s government could collapse. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to file a no-confidence motion after the vote is held. This move could potentially bring about a new general election, though the chances of it going so far are small. Other potential scenarios include a new Brexit referendum, a disorderly UK withdrawal from the EU, or a complete scrapping of the Brexit process. May can also try for another vote in the future, although this step should be avoided entirely as it would drop the British political system, and economy into a extended period of uncertainty that neither can afford to weather.

The Brexit crisis in Britain at the moment represents a point where contemporary global political trends have clashed. Populism, protectionism, and nationalism squaring off against globalism and pluralism in a contest that has created a stalemate closely resembling the Western Front in World War I. Whatever comes about following tomorrow’s vote will have a lasting impact on the United Kingdom, and the European Union. This much is certain.

Theresa May Facing No Confidence Vote

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Downing Street in London

The blowback from Theresa May’s decision to postpone a vote on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons might very well end up sweeping her from power. As the Prime Minister spent the day in Brussels attempting to gin up EU support for revisions to the deal, Tory MPs were busy in London laying the groundwork for a no confidence vote. The EU leaders who have met with May on her trip so far have not been receptive to the idea of modifying the deal in order to make it more acceptable to Britons, and help its pass through the House of Commons.

May appears to be fighting her war on the wrong front. Instead of looking to the continent for a lifeline of some kind, she need to be focused on the battle brewing in London. Monday’s postponement left a bad taste in the mouths of many MPs, most of whom were already souring on May’s leadership. Her motivation for postponing the vote was to avoid a humiliating defeat that might derail her politically. Unfortunately, May did not consider her dilemma from all angles. Even though she succeeded in delaying the vote on the deal, doing so sparked a mobilization of her opponents both within and outside of her party.

At Westminster tonight, there has been considerable speculation that the 48 letters required to trigger a no confidence vote have been received. If this proves to be true, Britain could find itself looking for a new PM by the end of the week.

A Look Around the World: 3 December, 2018

554553

Late November and early December have been an active geopolitical period across the globe. Following the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires yesterday, the world’s attention is shifting back to the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, US-China relations, and the upcoming vote in the British House of Commons on Theresa May’s Brexit Deal. Below is a brief summary of where each situation stands respectively, and what can be potentially be expected to happen with them in the coming week or so.

 

Ukraine

The strain in relations between Kiev and Moscow continues following the 25 November incident at the mouth of the Sea of Azov when Russia seized three Ukrainian ships, and 24 sailors. The Ukrainian sailors will face border violation charges from Russian authorities, and Moscow does not appear ready to consider their release anytime soon.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today announced the call-up of reservists for training. Poroshenko has been warning of a possible Russian invasion coming in the near future, pointing to evidence of Russian forces massing near the border as proof. His alleged evidence has not been refuted or confirmed by outside sources, although US RC-135s and RQ-4 Global Hawk drones have been active over the Black Sea, and Ukrainian territory since the 25 November incident. If Russia was mobilizing its forces near the border, Washington would’ve likely informed the world of it by now.

Martial law is still in effect across large portions of the Ukraine. This will continue at least until the end of December, and perhaps beyond then.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is expected to be discussed at length on Tuesday at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

 

US-China Relations

Over the weekend at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aries, President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to an agreement to halt future trade tariffs from being put into place after 1 January, 2019. Global markets have responded well to the temporary truce with Asia, Europe, and New York all reporting gains. The major question now is what will come next. If the truce holds firm and can be expanded, the prospect of a greater understanding between Beijing and Washington on other issues will become possible.

Xi and Trump seem to have a good personal relationship, yet neither leader has allowed it to blur the national interests of their respective nations. China is continuing its military buildup in the South China Sea, and actively harassing US warships and aircraft that transit the airspace and waters near its declared territory there. The US continues to champion freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and its frequent FON exercises there are held to emphasize the US commitment to the principle.

 

Theresa May’s Brexit Deal

11 December could very well be the make-or-break moment for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s political fortunes. The House of Commons will deliver its verdict on the post-Brexit agreement that May and European Union leaders signed off on last month. Opposition to the deal has been steadily rising in the UK. Even though May’s cabinet signed off on the agreement there’s been dissention in the ranks with some cabinet members resigning as a result of the agreement.

In short, many Britons feel the agreement gives too much to the European Union in exchange for the UK receiving nothing in return. Following Brexit, the UK would remain tethered to EU in a sense, and that defeats the entire purpose of the Brexit referendum.  As it stands right now, May does not have enough votes in her pocket to get it through Parliament. She has some time remaining, although its unclear if it will be enough time to reverse her fortunes.

The bigger question looming is; what will happen if the agreement fails to get through Parliament?