On Tuesday evening, March 12, the House of Commons of the British Parliament by the majority of votes has not endorsed the deal on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. 242 MPs voted for the draft-deal, 391 voted against it, DW informs.
Thus, in the next two days, the House of Commons will be able to vote for the no-deal Brexit, or Brexit postponing after the scheduled date of March 29.
British parliamentarians have not supported the agreement because of the so-called backstop regime which presupposes the existence of an open border without customs control between a member of the EU, the Republic of Ireland, and a part of the United Kingdom – Northern Ireland. Deputies oppose this norm because they think it will mean that after leaving the EU the UK remains a member of a customs union for an indefinite period of time.
On March 11, Brussels and London have reached a compromise on additional deal negotiations. The parties have adopted two joint declarations. In one of them – legally binding – London and Brussels have undertaken to find the replacement of the backstop regime by the end of 2020. Britain’s Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has opposed these agreements.
What to Do with “Hard” Brexit?
Without approval of the deal, after Brexit, London will not have a transition period in relations with Brussels. The EU official representative at the Brexit talks, Michel Barnier, has reminded about that shortly before the vote. “Let me be clear: the only legal basis for a transition is the WA. No withdrawal agreement means no transition,” writes Barnier on his Twitter page.
Unregulated no-deal Brexit is not profitable either for the UK or the EU. But on March 13, the government of Theresa May has already unveiled its plan on the case of the UK’s “hard” exit from the EU. According to it, London plans to abolish customs duties on imports of a large number of goods from abroad and will not impose a tight boundary between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including control over the import and export of goods. These measures are planned to be applied before the final settlement of the UK’s exit from the EU.
The “hard” Brexit plan entails that 82 percent of the goods imported to the UK from the EU will not be subjects to customs duties. In addition, a large number of goods from other countries will be exempted from customs duties. The share of duty-free imports in this case will increase from 80 to 87 percent. In such a way the British government wants to avoid the price rise in the case of the unregulated exit from the EU which British consumers are afraid of.
British Parliament Against “Hard” Brexit
The situation is weird – the British Parliament does not want the “hard” Brexit, but it does not want to support the agreement which excludes this option. British deputies insist on changing the deal, but the EU is categorically against it because the text of the deal has been long ago agreed by all the member states of the EU.
Nevertheless, the British Parliament is planning to vote in order to block the no-deal Brexit. If the Parliament dismisses the option of the no-deal withdrawal from the EU, on Thursday, a vote will be held to postpone its date.
EU Expects UK to Postpone Brexit
Meanwhile, the EU hopes that the British Parliament will delay Brexit. It is stated by the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther Oettinger, reads Die Zeit
The European Commissioner expresses his optimism that the continuation of the exit process will allow the Brexit deal between London and Brussels to be approved. According to him, in the case of Brexit postponement, the EU will see the reasons for the deferral and take them into consideration. “There is movement in every parliament, including the British House of Commons,” he adds.
Half of British Want Theresa May to Resign
This entire situation around Brexit has greatly undermined the trust of the UK citizens to the head of the government Theresa May. Half of the British want the resignation of the Prime Minister Teresa May after a humiliating defeat during the vote on her deal with the EU. It is evidenced by the results of POLITICO-Hanbury.
A survey with 500 respondents has been conducted for several hours on March 12 after the rejection of May’s deal by the overwhelming majority in the Parliament for the second time. The results also indicate growing support for the second referendum and refusal to leave the EU.
Thus, 50% of respondents have said that Theresa May should resign, and 32% have been in favor of having her as the Prime Minister. 42% of respondents are in favor of the early elections holding, 38% are against this scenario. 47% of respondents advocate the Parliament to reject the no-deal Brexit option, 39% are opposed to it.