Brexit vote debacle puts Theresa May and the UK in a tough, but not catastrophic, corner

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal suffered an overwhelming parliamentary rejection on Tuesday, a rejection on the scale of Michael Dukakis's rejection in 1988. The consequences for Brexit, as a reality as much as anything, are highly significant.

May must now return to the House of Commons within the next week to offer a pathway forward. If she fails to do so, members of Parliament will put forward their own alternatives for a vote. But as a first step, expect May to travel to meet top European Union officials in Brussels. May will beg, bribe (offering more money for EU projects post-2019), and cajole (perhaps threatening a hard Brexit and a cessation of much-needed intelligence alliances) the EU to give her more clarity on the so-called Irish backstop. The backstop pertains to a possible border arrangement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to enter into force if Britain and the EU cannot agree on a final status deal on all affairs by the end of 2020.

But the backstop is deeply unpopular in Parliament, with many of May's fellow Conservative Party MPs believing it is incompatible with British sovereignty. May will now hope that the EU will give her some new concessions with which to consolidate MP concerns over the backstop and rally enough MPs to her corner for any new vote.

Will the EU agree to this? Beyond some small word changes, I doubt it. The EU believes it has given May all it can give her and has little incentive to give more. The political union has a vested interest in making Britain suffer. It hopes that by showing the other 27 EU states the costs of withdrawal, other separatist movements on the continent will lose power. The EU elites are ultimately interested in forming a United States of Europe, not a continuation of the present EU form. That interest drives their hard-bargaining with May.

So, assuming May cannot get EU concessions to alter the parliamentary math, where does that leave Britain?

 Read more at Washington Examiner

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