Brexit takes front and center this week as the House of Commons has a series of big votes lined up.
Time check? 18 days to go ’til Brexit!
At least until the initial agreed upon date of March 29, that is.
The growing consensus, however, is that the breakup might be delayed for a couple of months or maybe even indefinitely.
Withdrawal Bill Vote (March 12)
The current version of the Withdrawal Bill will be up for a vote, and this is expected to end in a resounding defeat like the previous one did.
There have been indications that more MPs might vote in favor of the transition deal this time but probably just enough to result in a slightly narrower margin.
So far, even after a lot of back and forth, PM May has yet to secure assurances from EU officials that could turn the tide in her favor. There have been no signs of concessions on the Irish border backstop but if the EU budges, there could be a teeny-tiny glimmer of hope that the deal could pass.
Otherwise, it’s on to the next couple of votes lined up.
“No Deal” Vote (March 13)
Failing to secure approval for the Withdrawal Bill triggers the next set of votes, the first of which is on whether or not the U.K. should exit the EU without any agreement at all.
Now the BOE has already warned that a disorderly Brexit could wreak havoc on the economy as this would bring a lot of uncertainty for businesses and households. It’s likely that MPs would want to avoid this scenario themselves, so majority would most probably vote against a “no deal” breakup.
Brexit Delay Vote (March 14)
And that brings us to the final and probably most significant vote this week, which is whether or not to postpone Brexit.Hardcore Brexiteers worry that delaying the breakup could keep the U.K. in limbo indefinitely or even wind up reversing the referendum results. Even a decision to have a short delay wouldn’t probably buy enough time for No. 10 to secure a better transition deal.
A longer delay could run into more complications since the EU has elections coming up by the end of May (the month, not the PM). Changes in leadership already bring enough uncertainties on their own, so adding Brexit in the mix would raise even more question marks.
Then there’s also the possibility of a second referendum being pushed on a much longer delay, even as the Labour Party said they won’t force it. Is it just me or does this feel a lot like Bandersnatch?
Plot twists to watch out for include: EU officials giving in to Irish border concessions, PM May calling off any or all of the votes, PM May stepping down, the Queen using her Instagram powers to interfere, a last-minute change of heart among the opposition.
Missed last week’s price action? Read the GBP price review for March 4 – 8.