U.K. Lawmakers Reject ‘No-Deal’ Brexit, and Defy Theresa May Yet Again

Parliament’s actions undercut the prime minister, worsening the power vacuum in British politics and making an extension of the Brexit deadline more likely.

Comments: 223

  1. Putin wants Brexit, that should be enough to make Britain run fast and far from it. It's the old divide and conquer concept. Don't fall for it!

  2. @Pat The British mocked the EEC and sent a minor official to condescend towards those attempting to start it. Later, the British were a dead weight in the European Union always insisting on opt-outs and rebates while trying to scuttle it while enjoying the benefits of membership and all this consistently from long before Putin was born right up to the greedy, hypocritical and irresponsible mess they are in today.

  3. @Pat The British know the concept intimately and have practiced it for some centuries with great success. Having run out of colonies to practice it on, they have, like an addict, turned it on themselves !

  4. Little England was never high on my list of places to visit. And now it's NOT on my list of places to visit. However, I still hope to visit Scotland one day. A union between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland makes more sense than any of the three being associated with Little England.

  5. @Jay David Not sure how Northern Irish Catholics would feel about that.

  6. @Jay David: There are several things I would want to visit in England, and it is looking to be much cheaper in the near future!

  7. @Jay David - The UK is an incredible destination. Its history is literally awesome, it has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, London is an amazing melting pot of every culture, it's neat as a pin, pretty safe, lots of pubs, and if you stick to the ethnic places, the food is great. Westminster Abbey alone is worth the trip.

  8. Some day, somebody will write a book about the entire Brexit experience. It should be titled Profiles In Incompetence.

  9. Oh good gracious, it’s time for another plebiscite. Citizens of the UK will vote ‘no’ to Brexit, May will step down, and sanity can be restored.

  10. @Norman . That is going to require a delay of more than two months, though, and that is what the hard right of the Tory Party is determined to avoid.

  11. Two years ago Britain decided to drive a car off a cliff. It hasn’t yet crashed into the ground below, but the ground hasn’t gone anywhere. We onlookers can only wait for the inevitable “splat”.

  12. @Michael McLemore - Good analogy.

  13. @Michael McLemore Sorta like the old joke about the guy who jumped off the Empire State building upon passing the 50th floor: "So far, so good!"

  14. I don't see how anything would change with a delay of only a few months. Unless the UK lets Northern Ireland go. So much for having your cake and eat it. Where is Boris Johnson when the Kingdom needs him?

  15. The Republic of Ireland is already the Trojan horse of the USA in Europe. All US corporations are fiscally registered in Ireland : Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Netflix, Starbucks and others... A couple in Luxembourg. They are all there because they can benefit from tax loopholes and cheat to avoid paying any taxes . the money is redirected to the US via London banking and the US offshore banks of the Caribbean. The question of the border with Ireland is not only a physical question of frontier but of how the US fiscal fraud is going to continue escaping the EU from Ireland into England ,then back to the US .England is trying to escape the control of the EU at the moment when the EU is trying to start fighting the US fiscal fraud .

  16. Absolutely must-watch stuff. Does today’s vote mean anything? According to Father of the House Kenneth Clarke, “some here want to treat it like a motion on a Women's Institute debate” … followed by much back-pedaling. Priceless.

  17. This wicket is a bit too sticky for this man, but I had a brilliant nephew who on a Marshall scholarship studied in the UK. The Brits are getting set to commit economic and political suicide--unless they wake up, get straight with the EU, and ask for the time to bring this issue up again for a vote of the people of the UK. Mrs. May is doing NOTHING to create any confidence in her country or abroad that this option could in fact be the best way out of this mess--and all because it would split the Tories. Aren't she and the Tory Brahmins too stupid or paralyzed to realize that saving the Tories before they save their country will give them neither a party or a country? And aren't they too selfish to see that this path will only empower and embolden Putin, the Netanyahu bullies, and anybody in the rest of Europe and the Middle East who wishes the world no good and a lot of ill?

  18. @David A. Lee - What would you have the prime minister do that she hasn't done? The obvious option is that she should have negotiated a different deal. That's more than a little silly since there are two parties to a negotiation and they likely hammered every reasonable term they could think of. I don't believe that she negotiated to "save the Tories" since it was the Tories who voted for Brexit. They should have thought to save themselves. She was dealt a pair of deuces but played it anyway. That's not her fault.

  19. @David A. Lee, save some "credit" for Corbyn, the head of a shuddering Labour Party. He has been anti-EU for a long time and refused to state a position on Brexit, ready for the Tories to take the blame for his own desire; the man thinks a desperate nation will turn to him then, to give him carte blanche for his own plans. His too-late, half-hearted "stand" is an effort to staunch the exits of Labour Party members who are worn out on him. Too bad he preferred taking potshots at May rather than hearing his members cries to take a stand for them--not him--and make an alternative while he could have. But he didn't wish for that.

  20. @Stevenz Okay, but what is there about this enormously controversial "deal" that rules out taking the issue back to the country--unless it would in fact split the Tories clean apart? But I concede that this whole issue reeks of the same thing that has always made the U.S. and the UK so problematical to others, namely, our insistence on having our relationships with others in Europe and the world entirely on our terms. When the British Navy backstopped the Monroe Doctrine that made sense. It doesn't--not to me--in the world we inhabit today. Anyway, thanks for your response.

  21. It's nice to see that the U.S. political system isn't the only one on the verge of collapse. This situation reminds me of nothing so much as the Republican's years long clamor to repeal and replace Obamacare, only to discover that when they had the opportunity to do so, they had no idea what they were FOR, only what they were AGAINST. It will be interesting to see what the "leavers" will do when their alternate reality of a Brexit that makes Britain great again crashes into reality. They'll probably just create a new alternate reality to explain how some dark, mysterious external force ruined their beautiful plan.

  22. @Sheldon It is funny. Those who shout the loudest for making America and Britain great again are the very people who are pulling both countries down to the gutter. I wonder where I might have seen something like this conclusion before? Oh yes, Hamilton wrote it in the Federalist Papers. Perhaps it is time to listen to his advice again. Perhaps it is time to start walking away from pickup trucks displaying oversized American flags because in those trucks are people who in reality have no respect for the country and certainly not its people. Their version of patriotism is just the idea that they should be allowed to do whatever they want and get away with murder.

  23. @Sheldon America isn't collapsing, and we're not Britain. Republicans are not Tories. Parliament isn't Congress. A prime minister is not a president. Trump didn't create Brexit. The only thing we have in common with Britain is the English language. Sort of.

  24. @Ed All you say is literally true. The U.S. is not collapsing, just deflating; Fepublicans are worse than Tories; Parliament is acting like the governing body our Congress has been failing to be; Murdoch did a lot to create both Trump and Brexit. And we have a lot more in common: music, literature, etc.; maybe you don't pay attention?

  25. Britain is one of the world's foremost surveillance states, and as such their vote in the EU does a disservice to western democracies. Best they proceed with their Brexit.

  26. Where in the world is Boris Johnson? He needs to own up to the mess he created. Nigel Farage too.

  27. @Allen And let's not leave David Cameron out of this. It's his weakness for referenda (EU, and earlier Scotland) that has created so much mess in Britain over the last few years.

  28. @Allen They are both on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Next week they are invited to Moscow.

  29. @Allen Nigel Farage was on the BBC tonight talking about how he is lobbying the EU parliament to reject an extension. No sense of shame there...

  30. I would have attended a tech conference this spring in London, but this year I decided to give it a pass. I'd just rather not get stuck in the inevitable chaos and everything has been so unpredictable to date. The problems start at immigration--as a U.S. citizen, Brexit won't change my entry requirements, but even without Brexit it took 45 minutes to get through immigration at Heathrow. Who knows how long it will take when the Europeans are no longer able to go through the fast lane and the electronic passport control. Of course, maybe so many are planning to stay away this year that the lines will be shorter.

  31. I may be misunderstanding your point but the queues at immigration in USA aren't exactly speedy. I've always been in line for more than an hour at various landing destinations from the U.K.

  32. @M That is true about the queues in the US, especially since 9/11. It took several years before security started to run smoothly again, much less immigration. I was only using that as an example of places where chaos is likely to occur, simply because they are unprepared for the influx of extra controls that will need to take place after Brexit and it will likely take some time before things run smoothly. I live on the Continent so London is a short trip for me. Most of the people on my flights are European so they don't have to go through the slow lane...it's likely to take much, much longer when they do. I wouldn't stay away just because of that but because I imagine that kind of chaos multiplied around the country at every port of entry.

  33. The political leaders of the U.K. have rejected Brexit. It does seem overdue to say to the people that UK leaders regard Brexit as a mistake. And to admit the mistake: not requiring super-majority level support to trigger Brexit. Had Brexit required 2/3 or 3/4 voter support in the first place, the U.K. would not be in such a fix right now.

  34. It should have required the same 60% vote that was required for the UK to join the EU in the first place. Just seems like common sense.

  35. @Andrew, thx, I had not known the 60% figure for U.K. to join the E.U. ... agreed, 60% would have been ideal to leave

  36. @dt. It's not accurate to say that the UK leaders regard Brexit as a mistake. Some members of Parliament don't want Brexit. Some do, 'come what May' (pun intended). The problem is a failure to agree on the terms.

  37. Can anyone tell me what it even means to reject a no-deal Brexit? As far as I can see, there is no majority for a second referendum. It's like watching passengers in a car which is headed for a cliff; a majority of them are very certain that they don't want to drive off the cliff, but they can't come to a consensus that they should steer the car away from its current path. My analogy breaks down a bit when you consider that the obvious solution to the problem with the car is to apply the brakes, and then take a deep breath and consider how to get down from the mountain in a more orderly fashion. In the case of Brexit, this option requires the consent of the EU, and I don't see why the EU would agree to an article 50 extension without a commitment to a second referendum, or at the very least a general election. UK politics is truly through the looking glass.

  38. The UK has the option to unilaterally revoke article 50 anytime before the deadline and halt Brexit. That would be the equivalent of hitting the brakes before careening off the cliff. If the government of the UK can come together with a real Brexit plan with popular support, they can always leave the EU later.

  39. @Zach Dorman-JonesWrong, the remain side has a majority desire now for a second referendum. One where you know what you get when you remain and you know what you get when you leave, and that is the new component.

  40. @Andrew Point taken. I understand that the referendum was never legally binding, and that it is Parliament's sovereign right to call Brexit off at any point up until the deadline. But that doesn't answer my question. What does it mean to reject a no-deal Brexit without endorsing either a second referendum or an outright cancellation of Brexit?

  41. The EU should agree to extend the deadline past March 29. But in exchange for an extension, the EU should require the UK to hold another referendum on Brexit.

  42. @Joyce On the one hand, were the British to decide on a redo I think there's a reasonable possibility the "remain" side might prevail. On the other hand, were a redo vote imposed on the British by the EU as a condition of an extension agreement I think there's a very good chance the UK would use that as a reason to reaffirm their (foolish) original "leave" vote.

  43. Great idea. It is clear that parliament is incapable of doing the right thing unless it is forced upon them. If the Brits are spiteful enough to vote for Brexit because of a referendum imposed by the EU, they deserve to suffer fully the consequences of their actions.

  44. @Buck Flagg. No doubt you have a point that the unabashed populists would love to beat their drum against an EU ultimatum. I suspect that any moderates hoodwinked by the original populist lies should be wise to the con by now, though. I'd bet a 60-40 for remain in that case, which is really the modern definition of a landslide.

  45. London is one of my favorite places in the world. And I love the UK in general. Hope to live there sometime in the coming years. At this time, I have hope that MAYBE they will have another referendum and elect to stay in the EU. It would be like the US getting a do-over in the 2016 election. The UK is very lucky to have a second chance to get this right. I hope they make the most of that chance..

  46. @Chris You mean vote until the outcome fits? In science it‘s called fraud or data manipulation.

  47. @Mark Struck, PhD Voting isn’t science, it’s decision making. If you make a decision with major long term consequences and have the opportunity to reconsider it when it becomes clear those consequences are unacceptable, you would be wise to take that opportunity.

  48. @Eric you are absolutely right...especially if you were persuaded to vote for Brexit by out-and-out lies...

  49. Maybe this a lesson that public referendums should have to overcome perhaps a larger obstacle than a simple majority.

  50. @Jon Personally I disagree. I agree that referendums that attempt to modify the fundamental operations of our democracies - such as the length of term of Government, term limits or mandatory retirement of judges - should face a higher bar than a simple majority. This is required as a basic protection of democracy. But referendums on the usual business of Government - whether that be marriage equality, the establishment of a Republic or the exit from a customs union - should only require a simple majority. Particularly in the case, like Brexit, where a future referendum could easily reverse the outcome.

  51. @Jon And perhaps a timely reminder that public referendums on issues as complex as Brexit should not be put to a public who have absolutely no chance of understanding the scope and complexity of the reality! If an entire government, its opposition and the civil service, along with all the various experts and industry leaders at their disposal, cannot figure it out what chance does Zoe from Scotland or Jon from Boston have?! I consider myself well-travelled and well-educated and I wouldn't stand a hope of even slightly unravelling one of the economic impacts on a given industry or area. You and I may just be educated enough to realise that, though... Rupert Murdoch's ghastly media empire has had its fingers in the fetid pie of Brexit since day one, simplifying, exaggerating, whining, rallying and lying to people who want a Britain 'back' that never really existed. It's easy to see with hindsight, but the alt-right and the boomers will go and vote; they're motivated. A lot of the people who want to Remain didn't bother, assuming a win. Whoops! We're a multi-cultural melting pot and have been since the Viking era. Like the USA, immigration and cultural diversity has done nothing but strengthen our society and I just hope this whole sorry episode ends with a status quo - back to where we were.

  52. @Zoe Murdock is the Darth Vader behind the fall of the English speaking world

  53. Great Britain wants a deal with the EU, fine. But they like a Trump kind of deal: I get what I want and you get nothing. The problem is that if they want something (and they don't seem to know), they have to agree to something. The EU has four basic concepts which hold it together: free movement of workers, free movement of services, free movement of capital, free movement of goods. If GB wants a deal, they cannot want out and then choose what they want to participate in. May insists on pushing her deal which has been soundly, but soundly, defeated twice. She also refuses to work with others to arrive at a compromise because she is afraid of the split in her own party: whichever way she turns, she would alienate a segment of her support. Why is it so difficult for her to understand that the only way out is for the voters to decide? If the vote supports the Brexit a second time, opponents would have to relent under this evidence. If they reject Brexit, it will be because people voted with knowledge of what is involved.

  54. Another English speaking dysfunctional government. The disease is catching apparently. May caused her problems by not being circumspect about the snap referendum to bolt the EU.

  55. Why would the EU give them more time? They are watching the UK with the leavers screaming “unicorns will make us great” and the remainers screaming “what unicorns?” Why prolong “debate” when the actual facts aren’t even being discussed?

  56. As an American who has spent a great deal of time working and living in the UK, it pains me to watch what I consider my second homeland twist itself further and further into irrelevance with this Brexit nonsense. It looks to me that the Brexiteers believe that the faux 1957 Times of London headline "Heavy Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off" was accurate and applies in 2019 as well.

  57. As an outsider, all I see is a bunch of people circling the drain, voting No on everything and not bringing any solution to the table. You would think something that can ruin their country's entire economy for a generation or more would make people compromise, but instead is the opposite, just one more opportunity for grandstanding. At least the US was able to start course correction with the results of the 2018 mid-terms, I have no idea what would give the UK a change to recover.

  58. To the people who want to leave, let's just say, you can't avoid the math. Good luck but there is no mystery to what a miserable ride you are about to take...and for the purpose of what? Sovereignty is not the same things as stubbornness. Sovereignty respects the responsibility of governing. Prideful stubbornness is the opposite, careless and reckless damage to your own country and many others

  59. The British Parliament has spoken and the message is clear: They don't like anything.

  60. @Stevenz I actually think Parliament knows what it wants and what it likes. It would like to largely continue receiving the current trading benefits of being in the EU (most particularly low tariffs) but they don't want the burdens of EU membership such as the freedom of movement of peoples and the UK's being subject to the European Court of Justice and other regulatory restrictions and pronouncements from Brussels. The EU will simply not allow a member country (or former member country) to have the benefits without bearing the burdens. If the EU did, why wouldn't every other member ask for the same thing that Parliament wants. And that would be the end of the EU.

  61. Brexit and Trump - two Putin fantasies brought to life. He (Putin) must be pinching himself every two minutes.

  62. @DaveB Trexit just can't come soon enough for me.

  63. What is Trexit?

  64. Could someone explain what it means to vote against having no deal when the people voting cannot agree on any deal, and now wish to extend the time that they have already taken to arrive at the point where they cannot agree on anything, presumably with the idea that with more time to waste they will be able to agree once again that they cannot agree on anything. It is really no wonder that Monty python came from Britain!

  65. Sound totally weired but describes the situation on point. Kudos!

  66. @Religionistherootofallevil Great python skit in that. Throw in a dead parrot and it's a instant classic.

  67. @Religionistherootofallevil Everything in life is covered by either a Monty Python skit, an episode of The Simpsons or Star Trek (the original series).

  68. Britain has managed to remain independent for hundreds of years but now it looks as if they will take the cowards way out and cede their sovereignty to the EU. RIP (formerly Great) Britain.

  69. @Bill Actually, the Brexit process shows exactly how unimportant Britain's role in the world will be, should it Brexit. Ireland, a country with 1/13th the population of the UK and a GDP 1/8th the size of the UK's is dictating exit terms to the UK - because Ireland is backed by the might of the EU. So Brexit means the exact opposite of "Great Britain".

  70. @Melbourne Town Well, if anything, it is Northern Ireland that is dictating the terms. The UK needs an open border with Ireland to preserve peace accords in Northern Ireland, but the Unionists won't tolerate a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. There is no good solution.

  71. @Barry Short With the greatest of respect, that is just incorrect. The Unionists are more than happy with a hard-border across Ireland. It is the government of the Republic of Ireland that is opposed to a hard-border. The same government that is dictating the UK's exit arrangements.

  72. If there is a second referendum what options will be on the paper, stay in the EU or leave but stay a vassal state of the EU. Hobson's choice really, whatever the result we will still have to pay billions of UK taxpayers money to the EU, still have to obey their laws and their court and still have free movement of people. No doubt the EU will impose sanctions of some kind as a punishment for even attempting to leave. For centuries European powers have tried through war to defeat us and have failed but now in a time of peace and through the betrayal of our own politicians we have become a subjugated people.

  73. Why is belonging to a common market and customs union fairly described as a state of vassalage ? Has the UK really been without a voice in the EU all those years? Isn’t it an equal member of the union it wishes now to leave (despite, apparently, having absolutely no idea what that entails)?

  74. It depends on your definition of vassalage. Back in the early 70s when Ted Heath first muted joining what was then the Common Market he said it was for trade, he lied. In 1992 John Major signed the Maastrich Treaty which created the EU, morphing it from a trading body to a political body, he wasn't mandated to do it, it was not on any manifesto and he didn't consult with the electorate. I still remember his words at the time which indicated that what we the electorate wanted was irrelevant it was up to politicians. Since then we have had the Nice and the Lisbon Treaties which took this country even deeper into European political integration. Again the electorate was not consulted. If these decisions had been in a manifesto we would have had a choice and our votes would have mandated the Government to do it as it was we didn't. The question is are our elected representatives our masters in which case democracy is irrelevant or our voice? Our politicians may not be vassals but it appears that we, the electorate are. Would any American tolerate such a position?

  75. @Trevor Downing Which is your least favourite law imposed on the UK by the EU?

  76. A second referendum is the only fair course. Now that the citizens can see what problems Brexit will cause, and how uncertain any benefits are they deserve a chance to reconsider. They should vote to stay, leave with no deal, or leave with the deal that was negotiated over the past two years.

  77. A comparison between the rhetoric of global warming denialists and Brexiteers is revealing. In both situations, these groups dismissed as fiction factually based predictions of inevitable disaster. In both situations, as these predictions have been borne out, both groups have been forced to modify their rhetoric whilst still refusing to acknowledge that the predictions they previously dismissed have been proven to be correct. With global warming denialists, their new mantra is that the weather is warming as predicted but that it is just a natural phenomenon. With Brexiteers, they choose to blame the Brexit mess on the EU. Both groups choose to ignore their previous errors and incorrect predictions and continue to insist that they alone know the truth.

  78. @Melbourne Town Global warming denialists and Brexiteers are often the same people - there are links between them on both sides of the Atlantic and sometimes e.g. Steve Baker and Jacob R-M, they have hard religious views.

  79. No matter how you view Theresa May, she is finished in politics. She should approach the EU one last time to request more time before the mandated 'divorce' date, return to Britain and call elections to allow the people to decide, again, what they want, knowing what they know today, and to pick a Parliament to enforce it. She should then retire and let those that succeed her enjoy the fruits of their labors.

  80. @kamikrazee And what if the outcome is another divided Parliament? Remember, Mr Corbyn's opposition party is just as divided on Brexit as the ruling Conservative Party.

  81. @kamikrazee Everytime a PM calls an election, things seem to get worse for them.

  82. Like most Londoners I am hopeful for a 2nd referendum. This is somewhat tempered by apprehensions about how a remain result would impact the millions of steadfast leavers. The resentments that fueled the phyrric victory that is Brexit for the disenfranchised will intensify exponentially with unpredictable consequences. Still better than leaving.

  83. The EU-administration is escorting the UK to the street door. The David Cameron scam to milk further concessions and privileges for the EU-UK backfired miserably. The British government has done little in order to adjust the country and the people living outside the European Union. The UK will become defunct at 2300 on 29th March 2019.

  84. Unlike America the United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy. With multiple partisan political parties the legislative and executive branches are melded and molded into one. America is the antithesis of democracy. A divided limited different power constitutional republic of united states has an Electoral College standing between the people's votes and their Presidents. And every state regardless of population has the same number of Senators while the Constitution had to be amended in order to give people the right to vote for Senators. Instead of having them elected by state legislatures. While the people have no vote for federal judges. How did the two historically culturally connected English speaking white Anglo-Saxon Protestant nations end up infected living in the same delusional diva narcissist fantasy world?

  85. The US is not the antithesis of a democracy. It is a constitutional republic, another form of democracy.

  86. I seek Brexit simply because the repercussions shall include: 1. Scotland seeking a second independence referendum; 2. Scotland endorsing independence ; 3. The North of Ireland being granted a Border Poll; 4. The North of Ireland reuniting with the 26 counties . The time scale for the above is probably decades , not years . However, the release from British , or more properly English , colonial rule will be worth the wait . As an Irishman , I seek no part of a society which scorns foreign nations ,simply because they are foreign ; which promotes skewed values ,simply because they are “ British “; which commemorates wars , simply because “we won “. Remaining within the EU will thwart these aspirations . I’m a European . I want to be part of Europe . But I seek that privilege under the domestic governance of a United Ireland , where my honest political and cultural identity will be truly respected .

  87. Good to hear words of wisdom from Ireland. But you were always the more forward thinking guys in that conglomerate of countries.

  88. @Gazza, The Barrister That's an astonishingly forward-thinking point of view, but whilst I share your desire for a united Ireland, I do think Scotland, with its independent parliament, is better off with the rest of Great Britain - as long as we don't leave the EU. Most of our trade is with England, Wales and Northern Ireland and whilst it's easy to subscribe to the populist 'freedom' shout, it wouldn't serve us best. If the UK leaves the EU, however, all bets are off. London has never understood Scotland, Ireland or Wales and I think they're waking up to the fact that, actually, most people want to remain European in addition to being English, British, Irish, Scottish, Welsh or however you identify. I don't think you'll get your goal through the Brexit process. I do think you'll achieve your aims when the sectarian walls come down and it's your young people who will do that. Those boys and girls in their teens now will be policy makers in twenty years - that's the generation of hope and a united Ireland I think. Read back what you wrote and imagine it in front of a crowd - powerful words. However, where we have to disagree is your suggestion that wars are commemorated because they're won. They're commemorated because people died for a cause and even the Queen recognised that on her visit. You don't have to win to have a monument to your dead but hopefully there will never be a need for memorials in Ireland again.

  89. @Gazza, The Barrister These are harsh words from the land of my ancestors, about the land of my birth, but there is a considerable kernel of truth in them concerning some of the motives of Brexiters. I am not a Conservative but Matthew D’Ancona has expressed my feelings well in the Guardian: ‘Brexit has summoned the very worst demons that lurk in the Conservative psyche, liberating Tories to bellow nonsense about the second world war, the blitz spirit and pseudo-Churchillian defiance. It has fatally compounded the party’s demented fixation with immigration and distracted it from the true challenges of the 21st century.’ (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/27/tory-values-conservative-party-repellent-brexit )

  90. How could a simple majority suffice to set in motion such a drastic change? A super majority of 60 percent should be required for Brexit to proceed. Parliament does not seem to realize that the EU does not need a deal for Britain to exit. The EU is quite likely to say 'no' to an extension, which means that Britain will be stuck with the consequences of ineptitude.

  91. I would recommend 75%. That is the majority you need in Germany to change the constitution. And I think this is nearly as important as such a change.

  92. @Ron That certainly would have saved the country from this shambling around in apparent dementia. The vote should not have been taken without a comprehensive plan in the first place.

  93. Next steps are it's time for the UK to push off our island. Best of luck.

  94. In the last paragraph of the article you quote a Mr. Fritz-Vannahme as saying, "As the French put it, it’s the ridicule that kills..." Mr. Fritz-Vannahme has it backwards. The french expression is, le ridicule ne tue pas. Which translates as, ridiculousness doesn't kill you. Evidently the Brexit confusion is a transmittable virus.

  95. Has there ever been a picture of Trump holding a notebook of important papers?

  96. I know the NYT had published a wonderful flow chart showing all kinds of "flow paths" to an Exit. I need to look it up to see if it had even imagined this extension. I don't know what to say but that French quotation of ridicule is the ultimate killer fits it perfect here. How do these members of House of Fools even look in the mirror? I would be ashamed to see my own face. Finally, I am so glad that some almost 250 years ago, our Founders washed our hands off this nation. I know we always credit them as being unbelievably forward thinkers. But really, in their wildest dreams, they would not have agreed to be under the thumb of this House of Fools.

  97. I watched the Commons debate today and it was fascinating! The right wing Brexiters spew as many lies as our current Republican party in the US. The Tories are arrogant liars and May's manipulations are beyond the pale. She has essentially gone back on her word at every step and one wonders why other than desire for political survival. After a no-deal motion was passed she essentially said "vote on my deal again and then we can ask for an extension". I suspect that will be amended tomorrow. The problem is an extension of Article 50 does no good because of the way the Tories have handled this which is to never ask Commons what form a Brexit they want. It will be interesting what kind of delay emerges tomorrow: a three month meaningless delay of a recision of Article 50. John Bercow continues his wonderful performance herding the cats.

  98. @Mike I completely agree about Bercow. He is in a fine tradition of independent speakers - seven of whom have been executed over the centuries.

  99. I am willing to give back my Cambridge (UK) PhD if someone puts an end to this disgraceful development. A once proud nation and world force humiliated, asking for more time, fearful. A new standard of inefficiency and cowardice has been created: Mrs. May and that parliament. Just leave and deal with it. Period.

  100. "Wednesday’s vote should now clear the path for Parliament to ask for a postponement of the March 29 date for withdrawal, known as Brexit, in a vote scheduled for Thursday. The question then becomes for how long and to what purpose." For the purpose of holding another vote-- this time a fair one, with no foreign interference and based on real, updated, economic assessments. The postponement should be long enough to conduct a short campaign and hold the referendum. Bredux now!

  101. @Sixofone I hope a new referendum is not conducted under the same system as the last one - both of the main leave campaigns have been fined the maximum possible for illegal activities but the government has not passed any new law in response to these discoveries. Since January an organisation called Britain’s Future has spent £125,000 on Facebook ads demanding a hard or no-deal Brexit. An investigation by the Guardian has been unable to discover who funds Britain’s Future. ‘The little-known campaign group has spent more than £340,000 on Facebook adverts backing a hard Brexit since October, making it a bigger spender than every UK political party and the government combined The sophisticated campaign includes thousands of individual pro-Brexit adverts, targeted at voters in the constituencies of selected MPs.’ My own local MP Dominic Grieve appears to be the target of a campaign with a Change.org petition against him and adverts calling on his local party to deselect him. (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/09/obscure-no-deal-brexit-group-is-uks-biggest-political-spender-on-facebook and https://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/17477512.leaveeu-calls-on-residents-to-oust-the-remainer-amid-claims-a-confidence-vote-in-dominic-grieve-will-be-held/ )

  102. @Sixofone If the UK can figure out a way to filter foreign interference, maybe we can follow the same model in the states. Unfortunately, our open societies makes it easy for Putin to meddle.

  103. What a corrupt government. Your people voted to leave - leave, and stop making excuses.

  104. The Brits are no good at governing, they destroyed every country that they colonised.

  105. @Most Many former British colonies are doing well. India is the largest democracy in the world and a burgeoning world power. The British kept nations poor and exploited - look at Botswana's GNP now and when it was a colony - transformation during a lifetime. Even the worst cases though were not 'destroyed'.

  106. They have the best actors in the world.

  107. @Most Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among others, are doing OK. Maybe if we had stuck around longer, we wouldn't have messed up our own government so badly with the Senate and Electoral College.

  108. And people think that it's the American political system that's "broken"!

  109. The nit-Brits recognize their own tantrum and voted to give themselves the obligatory time-out. Will they be able to sit in the corner, shut up and rethink what they've done? If not, they may soon sent to bed without supper.

  110. Scotland does not want this. Northern Ireland does not want this. Therefore, the United Kingdom does not want this. The Republic of Ireland does not want this; the entire EU does not want this. Except for, perhaps, France who have been eyeing us suspiciously for several decades now as the British government frustrates and infuriates the EU legislature with their grandstanding and demands! If England and their politicans who do nothing, literally nothing as this article shows, except serve their own self-interests and political careers want to take the rest of us with them then they might be in for a shock. If Murdoch and his rancid publications think they can make this entire United Kingdom a tax haven for the wealthy and put corporate interests before the people by lying, exaggerating and simplifying the issues to their readership, they too might be in for a surprise. If the xenophobic boomers don't like how hard their Polish builders work, or how hard the Indians work at their businesses, or how much our society is strengthened by multiculturalism then they too might be surprised to find the United Kingdom is not so United after all. I supported 'remain in the UK' during the first Scottish independence referendum. I'm sure you all now know how I would vote in a second ballot if England - England - takes the United Kingdom out of Europe and ruins the Scottish and Irish economies.

  111. @Zoe Do you think that separating yourself from the rest of the UK would be any easier on your economy, given that Scotland's trade with the rest of the UK is four times its volume with the EU?

  112. The United Kingdom is made up of four constituent countries, you seem to have misplaced two, including the one with the largest population. The Republic of Ireland didn’t get a say in he UK’s decision, nor did the rest of the EU, and how awful that member country might disagree with policies and procedures!

  113. @Levon Not at all. If two countries that make up the UK didn't vote to leave the EU then then the UK didn't. England and Wales did. The Republic of Ireland's main trading partner is the UK. They're in the EU and they don't want us to leave. If you're going to pull that kind of argument then, let's just lay the cards on the table shall we? The UK doesn't want to leave, and that includes England and Wales. I'm happy to be proved wrong at a second referendum.

  114. Let's have a new referendum, Good People of the U.K. Vote NO. Preserve the EU and relative peace in the world for you and future generations.

  115. Members of Parliament in the UK should stop blaming Mrs. May and instead blame themselves for their inability to make up their own minds about Brexit. Also, leaving the EU does not mean leaving it permanently. The UK can always re-join the EU in the future if exiting it didn't work out well for them.

  116. @Thomas Rejoining is not a guarantee. It would require the approval of member states. As a British expat I say this with sadness - but it's difficult to imagine the rest of Europe embracing the UK at any point in the foreseeable future after this debacle.

  117. @Thomas Given current EU policies, it is unlikely that the UK would be allowed to keep the Pound if it were to rejoin. The UK has also obtained a number of concessions over the years, among them language addressing political union, that I'm sure they would not be allowed to retain. The UK has never been an enthusiastic participant in the EU. The other countries may decide that things are a whole lot less complicated without it.

  118. @Thomas Do you really believe the EU will welcome the UK back?

  119. "Her motion asking lawmakers to reject a no-deal exit on March 29 was expected to pass easily. Analysts had predicted that she would be able to beat back an amendment stating that Parliament opposed such a step — not just on March 29 but at any time. Instead, lawmakers voted 312 to 308, over her objections, for the amendment. Her government then pressured lawmakers to vote against the amended motion, but they voted 321 to 278 to approve it." Perhaps it's just me, but I'm having a hard time understanding what this is saying with all the intermixing of reject, opposed, amended, approved, etc. Could you please write more clearly?

  120. Dave, I had to read twice myself to understand. Original proposal was a commitment to not exit on March 29 (which is current deadline) without a negotiated deal with the EU (which May has been negotiating, but parliament has voted down - twice). Some members wanted to add a amendment to this proposal, stating that the UK would not exit ever without a negotiated deal in place. May did not want the amendment added to the proposal. Parliament voted yes to the amendment being added to the proposal (over May objections) and then yes to the “original” proposal. This is my understanding.

  121. @Dave I'm in the same place. Unfortunately, Joy's response doesn't help. It really seems like the disagreement is over whether the amendment will apply up until March 29 or up until then *and* thereafter. Still doesn't make sense.

  122. May is being treated by the Parliament the way the Republicans treated Obama. The only difference is that it is May’s own party treating her this way as well as the opposition I admire her stamina. Why not call for another vote on Brexit. This time around there might be a different result now that the voters know the truth Too bad we can’t revote for President. I am sure we would have a different result now that we are better informed

  123. The revote on the presidential election, could definitely result in a better turn out and different outcome. However, in the case of the Brits, I heard on NPR earlier today that the outcome of another referendum based on the polls is most likely to have the same outcome. It’s the same old adage, people tend to complain about consequences but given the opportunity to actual affect change they shy away.

  124. This is not complicated. Britain wants to go back to the pre- Maastricht Europe, i.e. keep the trade benefits and legal/political independence. It will be messy and it will take years but that is what will happen.

  125. I believe the British term for this is “omnishambles.”

  126. @Thollian Nick Robinson tweeted yesterday: " I’ve heard it all now. The Brexit Secretary has just voted against the motion that he’d just been arguing for. Anyone got a better word than Omnishambles?"

  127. They have royally screwed up this Brexit thing. They should go back to the people with a new referendum, who will undoubtedly reject this time.

  128. Monty Python, indeed. The Ministry of Silly Votes. This is not complex. Hold another referendum.

  129. It looks like nationalism is making a play to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I've got my money on globalism in extra innings.

  130. I hope U.K. doesn't fall into this masterly trap. Do another plebiscite. But before you do, make sure to thoroughly investigate disinformation campaigns. Half the world lives in a communist, dictatorial nation and the cold war seems to be more alive than ever.

  131. They should Brevoke and notify withdrawal again only if they reach an agreement that can be approved by the parliament and the EU.

  132. The problem of indecision goes a long way back. When the UK joined the EU, it already showed its reluctance to leave its own currency for the Euro. This was a peek of a country not fully committed to the ideals and principles of a united Europe. Ever since that time, the UK was different and in some sense snobbish of its place within the union. Fast forward to 2019 and we still have a country of indecision and finger pointing in the face of the whole world that has severely damaged its own reputation forever. The people voted but so far, the Government has shown it does not understand nor is qualified to handle the wishes of its own people. What a shame.

  133. @Mac Zon Staying out of the Euro was the smartest thing that the UK did. The economies of northern and southern Europe should not be in the same currency union.

  134. Its obvious U.K lawmakers who supported Brexit, never had end game nor consider how costly and complicated leaving the E.U. would be. Could anyone in Mrs. May's party do any better? I doubt it... Be careful what you wish for? .

  135. I truly feel sorry for this woman. Her landed gentry, extremely wealthy predecessor made one of the worst decisions in the history of Britain by allowing an uneducated populace to vote on Brexit. He then stepped down and Theresa has had to try to clean up the mess. She’s done the best anyone in their situation would have done-I respect her determination and composure in the face of so much negativity. She can hold her head high regardless of the outcome.

  136. @Theresa Yes! And even after she had campaigned to Remain! She has tried very hard to execute the will of the people. This woman is a true patriot. I honestly don't get why Parliament voted to keep her if they weren't going to accept her agreement with the EU. No one seems happy with her, but what is she supposed to do?

  137. @Theresa Except, of course, that her Brexit red-lines - drawn in an unsuccessful attempt to appease the Brexiteers in her own party - are responsible for the terrible deal she was able to extract from the EU. Those red-lines were entirely of her own making. It would be far more accurate to say that Mrs May was given an impossible job and has done it badly.

  138. @Theresa I pity Theresa May but I don't feel sorry for her. She is burdened by the consequences of her own terrible decisions, including: invoking article 50 without a plan, calling new elections and losing her majority, failing to have an honest discussion about desirable outcomes, appointing nincompoops to her cabinet. And those are just a very few of her worst mistakes. She deserves every bit of the suffering she is enduring. History will not treat her kindly.

  139. Everyone acts as if Britain has the final say in this deadline debacle, they don’t. “Britain’s request will have to be approved by all 27 other European Union nations at a summit meeting in Brussels next week.” It only takes one.

  140. Britian leaving, on top of Trump's crudity, are the best things that's ever happened to the EU

  141. Excellent summary, NYT. Just one thing I would like to highlight about the blatant hypocrisy of HMG. The original Ireland-only backstop was rejected by May on the pretext that it undermined the integrity of the UK and would draw a border down the Irish Sea. Now the government has published it tariffs in case of no-deal and guess what: they will not apply to Northern Ireland and tariffs will be levied when crossing the Irish Sea. So splitting off NI is now official policy in case of no-deal. Theresa May confirmed to us yesterday that she cannot be trusted to deliver her end of a bargain. As of today, it is the entirety of the UK government that must henceforth be viewed with suspicion. The UK is behaving like a borderline teenager and needs some serious timeout before she can be reinvited back into polite society. Shame on her. Shame.

  142. The UK Parliament merely pretended to reject a no-deal Brexit. And aren't we pastthe point where "defying Theresa May" retains any meaning or significance?

  143. The Pound went up in reaction to the non-binding defeat to the no deal Brexit.

  144. (The following is in no way well reasoned or thought through) I’ll admit to a bit of schadenfreude about brexit; let the rubes get their due. At this point, and admittedly from my vantage point in middle America, I’d say: 1, Scotland should abrogate the treaty of union and seize the nukes; 2, Republic of Ireland should claim sovereignty over Northern Ireland and institute customs control over the ports and 3, the E.U. should let the-formerly-U. K. exit firmly. I am a bit done with the schnitzel-show that is British politics.

  145. Until you realize that The US will turn around and say “hold my beer”.

  146. The richer industrial north of Ireland was offered to the south during WW2 by Churchill (for access to ports). de Valera didn't want it: full of protestants. Suggest you read the history before you comment.

  147. Would there be this same crisis if the original referendum had honest about how the exit campaign was nothing but hot air and clueless fantasy? The honest, multiple referendum choices would have been: a) stay b) hard exit c) vote again when someone has a genius solution to the Irish backstop, seamless cross border truck transit, etc.

  148. Prior to the the Brexit mess, I had thought of the post-war British as primarily a pragmatic and sensible people. Not anymore. But I should have know better years ago when Tony Blair followed W into the Iraq quagmire. And, of course, there were the Thatcher years... I suspect that British people didn't know us that well either until Trump was elected. It is the same disturbing right-wing mindset that gave the British Brexit and gave us Trump. It is clear to me that both May and Corbyn are clueless. The Tory no-deal Brexiteers know what they're doing but what they're doing is deplorable. Ever hear the old saw about cutting off ones nose to spite ones face? There are British MPs and pundits still talking about a path to soft Brexit and even a path to remain. I'd say they're detached from reality. The default is no deal. And unless a miracle happens and a majority in parliment actually vote 'yes' on a plan that the EU agrees to, the default will come to pass.

  149. Yes, it is very dispiriting to wake up one day and discover your country isn’t what you thought it was. Change happens over lengths of time, opinions harden, grievances are nurtured - but all kept bottled up by political mundanity. Yet the referendum unleashed it. If someone tried to create an existential issue that would strike a schism through the middle of the country, they could not have done any better. Really, while we may assign various reasons for people voting the way they did it comes down to a question as to what sort of country we wish to be. A forward-thinking nation within the global community, or take a step back into sentiment and rose-tinted, hazy memory. A welcoming nation, or an insular nation? It’s testament to his aloofness, privilege and sense of entitlement that David Cameron did not foresee that his silly tactical move to break a thorn in his side would actually unleash a million buried demons out of a previously tightly-sealed box.

  150. If they won't leave with a deal and won't leave without a deal, all that remains is to... remain. As Churchill said of America, Parliament will do the right thing, after it has tried everything else.

  151. @Richard Schumacher The law still says Leave That hasnt changed

  152. It was a nonbinding referendum. So, no, there is no law that says they have to leave. They can just revoke their Article 50 notice.

  153. In the words of Groucho Marx: "I don't know what they have to say It makes no difference anyway Whatever it is, I'm against it No matter what it is or who commenced it I'm against it Your proposition may be good But let's have one thing understood: Whatever it is, I'm against it And even when you've changed it or condensed it I'm against it"

  154. Poland could be a wealthier country than England within twenty years. As I watch DW or France 24, I get the distinct impression that the Germans and French don't much care what the U.K. does; Brexit actually gets very little coverage. Why? If you've been, you know that the vitality in Europe is in the East.

  155. Teresa May had to preside over the Brexit negotiations when she became PM, even though she personally opposed it. She's spent three years trying to cater to the will of the voters by negotiating the terms of a Brexit deal with the EU, with utter obstruction by the British parliament. Yet, they have not replaced her as PM or voted for a new referendum on Brexit either. She has conducted herself with incredible poise and restraint. Very impressive indeed.

  156. An extension is not going to change anything or ease the muddle they're in. If Theresa May wants any kind of legacy worth having she has to face reality. She needs to fall on her sword and cancel the invocation of Article 50. This will cost her immensely in personal and political standing. But for the good of her nation it will avoid the almost certain loss of the "Great" parts of Great Britain.

  157. @Syd: Only that she can't cancel the invocation of Article 50. Only the UK parliament can cancel article 50 and there most likely won't be a majority for it. Which leaves the UK in the following likely scenario: parliament is AGAINST her deal, parliament is AGAINST a hard Brexit, parliament is AGAINST cancelling Article 50, but FOR extending it. Parliament (and the country cannot agree what it is for). But there is no guarantee that an extension will be granted by the EU. It isn't even guaranteed that the EU member states will allow an extension for the purpose of another referendum. Resigning won't solve any of these problems. In any case, this will be interesting to watch.

  158. @LK I suspect that, given a free vote (which it would have to be, in the circumstances), Parliament would not vote against revoking Article 50, if it can be done on the basis that either a cross-party committee will look at possible solutions or a second referendum will take place, as either act would be non-partisan.

  159. I agree in all aspects but one. The personal political cost. She's already at the bottom. There is no downside. The only reason she is still PM is because nobody in their right mind wants this job at this particular moment.

  160. Perhaps ironically this defeat may help May to get her own proposal across the line. Prohibition of a 'no deal' exit appears to leave Brexiteers, such as the ERG group, with two unpalatable options. Since no other deal is on the table they must either accept May's deal or Britain, almost be default, remains in the EU.

  161. @Peter J. But that's not so. There's no must about it. If May's deal is voted down and there's no other deal, the game is over on March 29. Parliament logically must, and probably will, vote to ask for an extension, but this will not be a matter of ask and have. There won't be an extension in order to dither around like this some more. There must be a better reason than that. There, if you like, is your must.

  162. @Peter J. Or, May might be responsible for Irish reunification and Scottish independence, which would leave dozens of generations of Tories spinning in their graves...

  163. @Bob AckerThanks for pointing that out Bob. I had forgotten that Article 50 means that, absent an extension, they will be leaving on march 29.

  164. It is clear that after almost three years of trying and multiple defeats in Parliament, Prime Minister May will be unable to negotiate an agreement that will pass Parliament. It is time for her to resign and for new leadership to take over. Her vision is not shared even by members of her own party. The best thing that can now happen is for the British to extend the departure deadline by at least 6 months, May to resign and a snap election to take place to form a new government. It is no one's interest for Britain to crash out of the EU under a no deal exit. That will require patience on the part of all involved. It will also require the British to get their act together. Right now all anyone knows is what is NOT acceptable. It is their responsibility to present the EU with a plan that will pass, and be willing to negotiate in good faith around that plan.

  165. @Bruce1253: I agree that Theresa May should resign, and pass the impossible task of negotiating the Brexit deal. Before she does, she should push for a new election on the Brexit question. The best thing for the UK would be for the people to vote to forget the crazy idea of Brexit.

  166. @Bruce1253. I think you understate the distinct possibility that any viable replacement for May would NOT want to take her place in this debacle. Who want's to be the sacrificial lamb in the face of a rudderless bureaucracy steering itself right off a cliff? The real conclusion is that Brexit was sold on a lie and the populists have cashed in their chips while making a quiet dash for the exit.

  167. @jas2200 The Brexit supporters say they are bound by the referendum to leave the EU and cannot have another referendum since that would be unfair to the voters in the first. In the first referendum the voters had little information and a lot of that was lies. It seems that parliamentarians, fully informed , can have three votes on the matter but the people are not allowed to vote again when they now know know what is involved.

  168. She is not playing for time. If she were, she'd be trying to eke out the time, to get more of it. Instead her whole so-called strategy has been to play against time, to throw time away. And she's certainly succeeded in that. At this point, they'll have new elections, followed by a Tory disaster and a Corbyn win, or a crash-out. The only question is which is worse.

  169. There are two solutions, largely unspoken, that technically seem elegant, if politically impossible. (1) No exit, repeal the exit law and, if necessary, instruct the government to withdraw the Article 50 request. (2) No deal or deal with no Irish backstop: let Ireland be Ireland and eliminate the anomaly of Northern Ireland.

  170. No one has come up with a better exist plan that what Teresa May has proposed. The UK will crash out of the EU to the tremendous lasting detriment of the Britons. Brexit started out with no real exist plan and it will happen with no exit plan. The UK will fall just like ancient Greece and Rome. The Brits shot themselves in the foot, likely aided by the masterful Vladimir V. Putin.

  171. The seemingly never ending stream of Theresa May's efforts on Brexit -- multiple votes in Parliament and repeated going back to the EU to try to see if she can finagle something -- is Groundhog Day without any learning going on. Britain injured by British nationalism and nativism, which is always negative and ignorant. Maybe some good will come of it, like the break up of the UK: Brexit not for Britain but from Britain -- an independent Scotland and united Ireland.

  172. Perhaps referendums should be about actual plans and not vague promises by demagogues? It is like Trump's plan for Obamacare to repeal and replace with a better plan. Guess what? He doesn't have a better plan! Let Nigel Farage explain his better plan.

  173. A historical reflection: In Ireland 1918, Sinn Fein won a historic electoral victory, boycotted the London parliament, proclaimed an Irish Republic, petitioned Woodrow Wilson January 1919 -one hundred years ago- at Versailles for recognition. Petition declined. This was one of the many calamitous consequences of Wilson/Versailles resulting in the partition of Ireland which has come back to haunt London today. For it is the issue of the Irish border and the "backstop" solution which now convulses Westminster and which will likely abort Brexit. The other irony - the notion of a United Ireland which a great majority of reasonable people in Ireland desire in the longterm but considered unlikely for generation(s) - is now being widely entertained as an achievable goal in a decade or less.

  174. Maybe Brexit wasn't such a good idea after all? The EU, originally the Common Market, was created for a reason. Great Britain was part of it for a reason. After the Soviet Union fell other countries wanted to join it for a reason. I say this as I'm watching the current occupant of the White House destroy the United States' reputation almost singlehandedly and in less than one term in office. There are good reasons for economic blocs to exist: trade, uniform regulations, and yes, good relations between countries.

  175. For centuries the "power" of parliament has been diminished and involuntarily and without consent delegated to a kitchen cabinet of the Prime Minister and her or his special advisors. Thatcher, Blair and Cameron to name a few. Their special advisors were powerful intellects but were and remain unelected. We, the people often did not know who they were until recently. Recall that after the 2017 general election the Cabinet demanded of May that her two special advisors were sacked, They were. One among equals does not apply in the UK. We need a coalition government which is unlikely to occur given the the distinct lack of charisma of the current players. Parliament thanks in considerable part to Speaker Bercow is starting to take back control. Sound familiar?

  176. The UK parliament has rejected the May Brexit plan and no-deal Brexit. The EU will, quite reasonably, not allow an extension of Article 50 unless the British Parliament has a plan that can be implemented during the extension. This is not going to happen in the few days remaining. Thus, the UK should revoke Article 50 and then negotiate with the EU, with no time limit, then put any agreement to Parliament for ratification. It is called representative democracy. Article 50 can be invoked again, if and when the UK Parliament is able to agree to a plan.

  177. Apparently the E.U. position is if the U.K. leaves it is with May’s deal or else no deal. But the option also remains to just drop the whole thing and return to U.K. membership in the E.U. as it was before all this mess. Apparently May get’s to decide because parliament can’t do any negotiation itself, but only through May?? Any help here?

  178. This purely fake news that Great Britain is going to experience severe economic decline with a no deal exit is so harmful to the people of Great Britain. Great Britain has over a $500 billion trade deficit with the EU. Any trade problems are going to have far greater impact of Germany for example than Great Britain. For example, the EU has tariffs on food imports from the United States. A free trade agreement with the United States will lower Great Britain's food bill. The EU has harmed Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and most importantly, Western Civilization.

  179. @Thomas j. Larkin Harmed the western Civilisation? Why? Because there has been no war in Europe in the last 70 years?

  180. @Thomas j. Larkin I suggest you move there and then you'll be able to enjoy at first hand the liberation you envisage. (PS the UK public is aghast at the idea of eating US food - check out their newspapers response to chlorine washed chickens!).

  181. That is completely nonsense. And as I live in the EU I can attest to the fact, that it made life better for everyone in it. And Great Britain will plunge into a depression and Scotland and Norther Ireland will leave GB...

  182. Given the absurd trap that the UK government has dug for itself, the only remaining recourse is for the UK to revoke Article 50. Article 50 can be invoked again, if and when the UK Parliament or people is able to agree to a plausible plan. There is no enforceable mechanism that stops a country from re-invoking Article 50. The ruling from the European Court acknowledged that a country can unilaterally withdraw Article 50 and, although it did not like the idea, also acknowledged that a country can neither be trapped in the EU nor forced out.

  183. Commons previously voted down May's soft brexit, and today they voted down the hardest of hard brexits. How long will it take for them to realize that they have chosen the only other option: Remain!

  184. If this wouldn't be real and the repercussions so serious, this could well be from a Monty Pythons' sketch.

  185. The UK should cancel Brexit. They are so lucky that the can reverse their 2016 mistake, while we have to wait until 2020.

  186. The vote against "no-deal" Brexit has no force. It is merely a wish, to which the EU responded "It is as if the Titanic voted for the iceberg to get out of the way". Even in this mess it is crystal clear there are only three effective paths: (1) Let the deadline expire and leave with no deal. (2) Vote for the May deal. (3) Vote to revoke Article 50 and remain, at least for now. In a sane world there would be a fourth idea; come up with a specific justification for why the EU should extend the deadline, such as asking for time for a referendum on the May deal. But having a plan appears to be beyond this rabble.

  187. The Brexit people thought they could sever ties with the EU then negotiate a standalone free trade deal. Europe said this wouldn’t happen but the Brexiteers thought they were bluffing. Brexiteers also downplayed the significance of a hard Brexit which was even greater misjudgment. The EU has 500m people & it’s right on Britain’s door step. To lose free & unrestricted access to this market is a calamity. It’s also silly to assume the UK is now free to negotiate trade deals with other countries, as what deals are these? What trading bloc has 500m people & is within a stone’s throw from the UK’s tiny Ireland?

  188. In some ways this situation is a potential harbinger of America's future in the world. A failed and diminished world power, mislead and misinformed plebes voting to undercut their own economic standing and a legislative body that isn't capable of doing anything. I lived in the UK (Cambridge and Peterborough) for 3 years in the early 90s. It was a third world country then, compared to Western Europe, thanks for their diminished empire. And now with their right-wing extremists playing to the worst instincts of the hooplehead voters, you can see a possible future of America. A hollowed-out proto-democracy still believing they're a world power that matters.

  189. I do live near Cambridge. In fact 73 percent of young people are pro Europe. You are speaking of the older generation with vestigial fantasies of specialness (the equivalent of American Exceptionalism). They are the past. Even if we leave the EU young people will rejoin in a decade.

  190. @KCF presumably you weren't having fun in the nascent Rave scene then? I remember Cambridge being Fab! Who'd have thought a Third World Country would be so entertaining and at the forefront of (then) modern culture!

  191. I am unclear. Was the motion passed that if there is no deal, the U.K. should stay in the E.U. as it was previously? Or is the motion that the U.K. must leave, but with some unspecified kind of deal? One that never will materialize and hence will lead to a no deal Brexit? And if the motion passed isn’t binding, is it meaningless?

  192. @John✔️❎✔️Brews It is meaningless in fact. To keep UK in EU a valid deal is required. No Deal means Exit. This is compulsory EU law. Two days ago UK voted against the only available deal. So there is "No deal." Yesterday UK voted against leaving without a deal. This motion is not binding indeed and hasn´t any effect in fact. Firstly it can not affect EU law in any way and secondly such motion is by no means a "Deal". It´s simply a motion expressing wishful thinking again. So it´s still "No deal" despite the motion. In yesterday´s evening EU Commission has pointed out this very simple correlations and referred to the obvious "still No deal" status combined with a warning that such motions can not prevent the "automatic" exit by default on 29th, an undeniable fact but furthermore ignored by many MPs in UK who focus on their countless ineffective motions. Ms. May who had negotiated the (interim) deal and is trying hard to push it through parliament had ordered her ministers to vote against the "no deal" motion yesterday. Some did, some abstained, four voted for the "Not without deal" motion in support for Ms. Mays deal. One of the agreeing junior ministers had already to resign this morning for disobedience. This is the current situation. No, you don´t have to understand what´s going on in UK. Its a good sign that you can´t.

  193. Agree! All the double negatives makes it hard to follow.

  194. @John✔️❎✔️Brews Sort of, no, who knows? And to your last question, more than likely. Clear as day, isn't it?

  195. With everyone concentrating on casting May as the villain they have rather overlooked the fact that there is essentially no agreement at all amongst MPs as to what the agreement should look like. Getting rid of May or holding a general election will not change the deep divisions amongst MPs, not just regarding the complexion of a deal, but also about whether the UK should exit at all. It seems that the quest for power has blinded the ambitious to these realities. As long as parliament holds sway, it will be impossible for the UK to leave the EU which means that the UK is not leaving. If the nation wants to leave the EU they need to find a way to remove the authority of parliament on this matter.

  196. May is the British version of Trumpian chaos, hopelessness, incompetence and dire pigheadedness. She set out ridiculous red lines and has been penalised for them, with proposals rejected not once but twice. This is unprecedented in history. She should either resign or defer to parliament. Yes there is division, but this was entirely caused by an increasingly right wing Tory party and their political fantasies of lost Empire; the British version of MAGA. A second People's Vote, uncontaminated by lies and deceit, is now called for; indeed it is inevitable.

  197. Brexit deal rejection doesn't mean disorderly no-deal exit. There are still many choices to choose from,provided Theresa May leaves her stubborn insistence on a deal, good or bad, and is open to dialogue with her colleagues and the lawmakers. The emerging political consensus suggests that the government seeks extension to the Brexit deadline March 29, and allows space for a rethink of the 2046 referendum, possibly through a second referendum,which could prove more mature and clear opinion outcome than what it was two years ago.

  198. Unfortunately there is no good faith. All those who want to see the UK stay in the EU need to do is not agree to anything. Add to this the failure of those who are happy to leave's inability to compromise and the UK can look forward to being able to continue importing expensive German automobiles at a zero tariff indefinitely: a very effective filibuster.

  199. Possibly the most famous Brit, Winston Churchill, said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” It seems the old corker was prescient in regards to the barking mad relationship of Parliament to Brexit.

  200. What this drawn-out process of polling legislators in "meaningful votes" means is that members of Parliament get to do everything in their power to reflect the will of their constituencies. That seems only appropriate after an ill-conceived referendum whose meaning was unclear. While it looks as tho the EU's newfound willingness to talk about extensions is its way of pressuring the UK to go ahead with EU elections, it also appears to be an ideal way of testing British objections to the May Plan by placing Brexit itself in question.

  201. The chaos of the British parliament makes clear the fact that Brexit is not about the EU - it is about the UK and the future of that kingdom which looks increasingly unstable.

  202. The British Parliament is clearly wants to remain in the European Union. Refusing to adopt an exit treaty with the Union is the preliminary step before placing the Brexit decision before British voters again. Parliament speaks for British interests and is clearly not willing to turn over financial markets to the Americans or the Germans or the Dutch. The smart money is waiting for a re-vote and a reversal of the Brexit decision.

  203. Hard game to figure out. If these defeats are not votes of no-confidence, I don't know what is. Knowing now that the people were duped in the Brexit vote, the only way the weak-kneed Parliament should do is to call for an election with all the cards on the table and decide clearly about leaving or staying. At least they can do that, whereas in the US it is waiting for a four year term to run out.

  204. Is there a chance for a whole new vote on Brexit? It was close last time, wasn't it, and there was some voter interference and manipulation taking place? Could it go different this time? It seems like remaining in the EU is a much better choice for the United Kingdom as a whole, and for Europe too. Has the fear toned down? This diminishment of the post-war liberal democratic world order, values, and alliances it something our adversaries are cheering for it seems. Rather loudly...

  205. What Americans need to understand about a parliamentary government is that major defeats of government policy by lawmakers is typically grounds for a non confidence vote and triggers an election. UK politicians aparently don't have the appetite to force an early election, and seem to embrace the chaos that has engulfed UK politics.

  206. For those wondering why Theresa May remains PM: the Conservative MPs barking at her heels do want the job, but only after a Brexit decision has been reached. They do not want the job of heavy lifting required to get to an outcome, and are happy to watch her stagger towards some sort of conclusion; at this point the Brexit result apparently matters less than their ambition. The reckless way David Cameron used the referendum as a ploy to cling onto power is analogous to the endorsements made of Trump by people certain he could never win. The fact that Ireland and NI are the sticking points for the whole Brexit endeavour is not just ironic but dangerous. The bomb that went off on a recent Saturday in Londonderry, attributed to 'the New IRA', was reminder, if one was needed, that this is a part of the world with unresolved hatreds barely below simmer, and one incites them at their peril. As to how it feels here...it feels as I imagine it did in the US during the transition between Obama and Trump. We know something terrible is coming, we don't know how bad it will be, or in what ways it will affect us. We know that the Tories are fighting with each other, mostly vying to take control once May falls , and appallingly, Labour is in no shape to govern. If ever there was a time for a functioning opposition party, this is it, but Corbyn is less electable than May, so here we sit, fuming and not knowing where it will end.

  207. If this bedlam of a situation proves anything, it proves that following an indecisive referendum which saw a split between city and rural areas, between young and older people and rifts within each major party, it is madness to continue with it. The original political sin was Cameron's who did not anticipate that his CONSULTATIVE referendum was going to be taken as a definitive vote. It has now been proven that altering the structure of a society on the basis of a minuscule majority is the origin of discord and confusion. The only solution is to take into account the interests of both sides by having a soft Brexit that gives both sides something but not all they want. Once arrived at a compromise, go back to the people and ask them to choose: Brexit provided by the compromise Brexit with no deal

  208. i think the reason no one has forced May from power yet is no one wants her job right now. She's "failing" in a way they all want. I'm convinced even the pro-Brexit MPs actually do realize the folly of Brexit and see defying her at every turn as simply a roundabout way of ultimately staying in the EU.

  209. Not sure Britain's Prime Minister has the best interests of the people or the U.K. Brexit will likely lead to food shortages since one-third comes from the EU. Higher tariffs will be imposed on imports and exports, cause inflation and lower the Brits standard of living. Leaving the EU would also leave them without a trade agreement, anduUnder this deal, they could lose Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales; what happens then, do they become independent, sovereign countries of their own?

  210. Once they wanted to rule the world; now they don't want anything to do with it. English was once the world language, with all the personal, economic, and cultural benefits to anglophone speakers this has provided. Adolescents from all over Europe have flocked to England to learn English, assuming its acquisition has some practical advantage. Alas, with the hard border and dislike for "the free movement of peoples," all those eager tourists and students will turn elsewhere. If those who voted Brexit as a form of self-assertion swallowed tabloid lies, their Tory leaders didn't and don't have to. Time for a new government, a customs union, remain, anti-pollution laws, and reinstatement of the free movement of peoples!

  211. Next, having rejected everything on the menu, U.K. lawmakers will vote not to leave the restaurant without eating.

  212. What isn't mentioned anywhere in this article is that the EC Court of Justice has already said that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 (the decision to leave the EC) up until March 29. A referendum, which would probably vote to remain in the EC now that people understand how Farage, Boris Johnson et al lied to them

  213. It's worth remembering that the referendum was only called by Cameron as a means of bringing the Tory leavers under control, he never thought that the vote would be to leave. The leavers lied & lied & lied throughout the referendum campaign, appealed to xenophobes, there is an investigation under way about illegal payments to the leavers & there are indications of Russian involvement. Don't get me started on Farage & Wikileaks. Sound familiar? May's whole approach to negotiating a deal was intended to keep the Tory party in one piece, a case of party over country, as was Cameron's referendum. Sound familiar? She hasn't kept her party together, not least because there are some who are strongly in favour of leaving with no deal. Corbyn's approach has been pathetic, in keeping with his approach to most things. One of the ironies is that he's a leaver & May's a remainer. If the EU agrees to an extension of Article 50, which is by no means certain, May looks likely to bring her deal back for another vote as nobody has found a way to re-programme her, her default to change is "does not compute". She might just bore & frighten her way to "success". In the UK media there is a somewhat patronising approach to the current political woes in America. A good look in the mirror wouldn't go amiss here.

  214. They need to send this back to the voters. It’s turning into a joke.

  215. It's the DUP that surprises me most. Just completely delusional, supporting a Brexit government when no matter what, leaving the EU and having 'real borders' means patrolling and checking all Irish traffic regardless of origin. They'll never have their open border now, it's impossible. May's dream is science fiction, even if she could get a treaty for it, which she can't. Do none of them realize this? Are all of them so old they think a loose border is even possible in this surveillance age? It's crazy.

  216. Currently out of UK watching the shambles from an EU country... Austria. Despite my nation Scotland voting 62% Remain and being dragged out of EU unwillingly, it is a reflective distance to reflect... what is really happening with Brexit? Having decided that is rhetorical, perhaps the most telling advice came from a barista here in Vienna.... simply “ A Nation gets the Government it deserves!”, something for both UK and US to ponder?

  217. If someone has an usual idea and tries to implement it, the eventual correctness of the idea determines whether the attempt to implement it against huge resistance was a good idea or a bad idea. This is obvious.In other words, eventual correctness determines whether someone is a hero or a crackpot. In society, all kind of checks and balances guard against idee fixes in individuals, and especially in leaders. For people at the top, such checks and balances may be inoperative. Theresa May argues that 'the people have spoken by a referendum', and that the consequence should be implemented. Counterarguments are ignored. She has formulated a plan for Brexit, and she implements it. Her plan has been rejected by parliament two times now; her tactic is to show that this will result in the chaos of a no-deal Brexit and that her plan is the only feasible alternative. So May may wait for the chaos to rise, and then ask the parliament for a third time to approve her plan (curiously, there is an analogy to her Remain opponents, who ask for another referendum). In the EU, many are fed up with May and her cronies. Some may also see commercial opportunities arising from Brexit and eye the EU customers of British firms. So resistance against Brexit has faded here: it is no use arguing with people that act against their own interest. Who or what to blame? British culture? Rupert Murdoch's newspapers? Putin? Cranky billionaires? The weaknesses of British democracy?

  218. They don't want a deal and they don't want a no-deal; so that really leaves the only other possibility: the 2nd Referendum

  219. May is still Prime Minister because no politician in the UK wants the job. Boris Johnson should be put on the hot seat. With his new hairdo he's at least more presentable. It's doubtful that he has any solution to the "Irish Question" that is capable of a majority - and keeping the peace.

  220. What fascinates me it the ignorance of reality. Brexit was all kind of things to all kinds of people, a unicorn. Now the UK politicians have to deliver on this, which is absolutely impossible. There is no good Brexit for the UK. The UK will be a lot worse off. But I guess they will only believe it when they have to live with it.

  221. All it will take is one European country who genuinely has affection for Britain to condition its approval for a delay, on the Britts holding a second referendum, now that they know what a Brexit actually entails. Leave now with no agreement and a giant mess or re-think the dumbest move in British history ever. Let's hope there is one. It is obvious that the current crop of British politicians has neither the brains nor the guts to save their own country from disaster.

  222. Call it Brexit if you please. I call it the self-imposed British Partition.

  223. Headline misleads—more accurate would be “Titanic votes that iceberg must move out of way” (hat tip to a EU commissioner who said this).