Tuesday 15 October 2019

Explainer: What happens next for Brexit?

British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Getty
British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: Getty
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The UK is still trying to decide its ‘next steps’ on Brexit. Here are the key options left on the table:


Although the Prime Minister has decided not to go ahead with putting the Withdrawal Agreement to a third vote, it remains on the table. It includes the Irish backstop which the DUP continue to oppose.


There is a very high chance that the UK will crash on April 12. Even though a majority of MPs don’t want a no-deal scenario, the only way to actually avoid it is for them to agree on something else.


European leaders are open to a so-called ‘Canada+++’ arrangement which would see close ties between the EU and UK on trade, internal security and foreign policy. However, it would be likely to require the UK accepting a border down the Irish Sea.


This would ensure the smooth movement of trade and negate the need for the backstop. Leaving the Customs Union was a redline set down by Theresa May in her talks with the EU as it would limit the UK’s ability to negotiate trading deals with other countries.


A relationship similar to the EU’s with Norway would allow the UK step outside the remit of the European Court of Justice – but it would still involve free movement. The UK would also have to contribute to the EU budget and abide by some regulations.


More than one million people marched in support of a second referendum – but it’s still not on May’s agenda. In theory the British Labour Party supports the idea, although many question how committed their leader Jeremy Corbyn is to the idea. It’s also not clear what question would be asked of voters.


It’s hard to imagine at this stage that they could call the whole thing off but it’s still an option. Until they actually leave, the UK can change their minds and remain.

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