Brexit’s Day of Decision Looms

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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.

Wednesday 19 April, 2017: May Moving Forward With Snap Election

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to laying the foundation for the final stage of the negotiations that will lead to Great Britain’s complete exit from the European Union. On Tuesday, she shocked her supporters and opponents alike by calling for a general election to take place on 8 June of this year. The House of Commons approved the election on Wednesday. May’s goal is to increase the majority for Conservatives in Parliament and allow her to negotiate from a position of strength in talks with the EU over the Brexit process, which are scheduled to begin later in June.  The latest round of polls show Conservatives out in front of Labor, the main opposition party, by upwards of 20 points. May’s party is expected to make considerable gains in the June elections and significantly widen the gap between her party and Labor. Right now, Labor’s leader Jeremy Corbyn is fighting for his political life. He appears to have more popularity and appeal with the British public than he does with his own MPs. The snap election will prove if that is the case. In all likelihood, Corbyn will be forced to resign from his position if Labor performs badly in June.

 

For Prime Minister May, the snap election is a bold move at the right time. Conservatives are primed to increase their majority during the next general election. However, that power can be put to better use right now with the Brexit negotiations underway. May will need every tool she can muster come the final negotiations. A clear-cut majority in Parliament assures her a strong negotiating position. The EU will not find it easy to undermine her or force acceptance of particularly distasteful terms given that after the 8 June election May will not have to worry about facing the electorate for quite some time.