To say it’s all gone Pete Tong would be the understatement of the year. Following hours of fraught negotiations, so-called meaningful votes and political in-fighting, the UK’s departure date has been extended from 29 of March to allow for more time to achieve a solid conclusion.
The UK will be offered a delay until 22 May – that’s if MPs approve the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU next week. If Theresa May’s deal faces a third rejection, the EU will back a shorter delay until 12 April, allowing the UK more time to “indicate a way forward” – or, in other words, put together a Brexit Plan B for EU leaders to consider.
Until then, European Council President Donald Tusk has made it clear that all Brexit outcomes are still on the table.
“The UK government will still have a choice between a deal, no deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50,” he said.
But revoking Article 50 is simply not an option according to the Prime Minister, who said “it would be wrong” to ask the British people to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections three years after they voted to leave the EU.
The question is, after suffering two rejections, will May’s deal come back from the dead?
According to Reuters, the French president Emmanuel Macron told fellow EU leaders during the EU27 discussion that he thought May had only a 10% chance of winning the vote next week. After hearing her address the meeting, he revised these chances to 5%.
After waiting for the 27 other EU countries to make their decision at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, the Prime Minister has said she will now be “working hard to build support for getting the deal through”. If her version of building support involves blaming MPs for the Brexit delay as she did in her speech from 10 Downing St on Wednesday night, it’s not looking good for her.
When asked what she was going to do if her deal was voted down, an official added that May replied that she was following her plan A of getting it through. Make of that what you will, but it certainly sounds like if her deal is voted down once more, there is no plan B.
At present, the UK’s official exit date of March 29th is still written into law. However, the PM is expected to table secondary legislation to remove the date from law that must go through the House of Commons and the House of Lords by next Friday.