The March 29 Brexit deadline is just around the corner, and Britain is still confused. The crisis on how, or even whether, to exit the European Union after a 45-year-long association is the severest the kingdom has faced in half a century. While an array of options — including a last-minute deal on the government’s exit strategy, a delay in Brexit, an economically disastrous no-deal Brexit, a snap election or a second vote — are there, the ultimate outcome remains anybody’s guess.
Prime Minister Theresa May is trying hard to secure last-minute changes to the withdrawal deal agreed with the EU before the British parliament votes on Tuesday (today) on whether or not to approve the deal. If the deal, which was voted down in January, is defeated again then lawmakers will vote on Wednesday (tomorrow) on leaving without a deal on March 29 and, if they reject that then they will vote on Thursday on delaying Brexit.
It is almost certain that an unchanged withdrawal agreement would be defeated in the Commons, with a large eurosceptic faction of the Conservative party itself and the Demo¬cratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s minority government, all set to say nay. If the Prime Minister fails in her pursuit of a smooth, parliament-approved Brexit, lawmakers are highly likely to force her to seek a delay to Brexit which could actually see the June 2016 decision by the people to leave the 27-nation bloc reversed. There is no dearth of those who fear that in case of no delay, Britain will have to pay a huge economic cost on leaving EU without a deal.
That Britain has been in a fix since the ‘yes’ vote on Brexit 33 months ago has no two opinions. The chaos and confusion underscore the perils of unchecked populism that has been on the rise globally. The world over, people’s sentiments are being exploited ever more to create nationalistic and sub-nationalistic groups for achieving political purposes.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2019.
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