BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminates Electric Works development agreement Full Story

If Brexit clarity doesn't come soon, the fallout will be savage

In a major rejection, UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal deal was voted down by British lawmakers in the House of Commons. It's the second time her deal has failed.

Posted: Mar 12, 2019 4:20 PM
Updated: Mar 12, 2019 4:20 PM

Theresa May's Brexit deal has been comprehensively defeated by British lawmakers for the second time. Though Tuesday's loss was not as bad as her historic January humiliation, the specific numbers and scale of the rejection become less important as the Brexit deadline nears.

There was no clarity for people in Britain or Europe on Tuesday, but there may be in the coming days.

Next Thursday (March 21), the European Council meets in Brussels for the final time before Brexit day (March 29). Between now and then, May is going to have to play her last cards -- though it's far from clear to what end.

Last month, she promised the House of Commons that should her deal fail a second time, MPs would be invited to instruct the Prime Minister on two immediate alternatives to her Brexit plan: leaving the EU without a deal or requesting that Brexit be delayed. Those votes will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

While both votes have the potential to open numerous cans of worms, a majority behind either would at least give people in Brussels and London something tangible to work with. They also present a chance for the warring Brexit tribes to seize control of the Brexit narrative.

While a Commons majority in support of no-deal Brexit is unlikely, if parliament does surprise everyone, things become simpler, in some respects. If you ignore the expected medical shortages, queues at the border and economic turmoil, the UK will at least know that it is an independent nation, trading on World Trade Organization rules as of March 29.

Should, as expected, no deal be rejected, we move on to the Commons vote to delay Brexit. If this wins, May will ask her fellow EU leaders for an extension to the Article 50 process. This will most likely happen at the EU Council Summit on March 21. It's worth pointing out here that EU rules require all 27 members states agree to this extension.

Back to the next 48 hours: what exactly are these cans of worms?

Let's start with the no deal vote. Yes, it is expected to fail. But the scale of that loss will send a clear message.

While the number of MPs actively agitating for no deal is relatively small, the effects of Tuesday's second meaningful vote defeat could lead to something interesting happening among May loyalists.

Last month, Matt Warman, member of Parliament for one of the UK's most pro-Brexit seats, wrote on Twitter that if May's deal fails, he will support no deal.

This idea of stopping or delaying Brexit being a betrayal of democracy could capture the imagination of a few more. It's still unlikely to pass, but if more than the 24 hardline Brexiteers vote for no deal, it will send a message to the government and, more importantly, Brussels.

This message will be in the minds of EU officials as they consider what approach to take with the UK as the next stages of Brexit are hammered out. The UK might find it has even fewer friends in Europe than it does now.

But arguably more contentious than no deal is delaying Brexit. Why so? Because it puts every option, including scrapping Brexit, back on the table.

Pro-EU MPs have made no secret of the fact that delaying Brexit is their preferred option.

For some, this is because they want to ditch May's deal and get some breathing space to find a new arrangement with the EU. For others, it would provide the chance to take Brexit back to the public and hold a second referendum. And for a small but hardcore group, it is the first step toward stopping Brexit totally.

But delaying Brexit really could mean going back fully to square one, which doesn't only suit Europhiles: when it's said that everything is back on the table, this means harder options, too. Including a more carefully-orchestrated no deal. Many words have been dedicated to the divisions that Brexit has created in British society. It's hard to see how all options coming back on the table would remedy this.

Absent in much of this discussion is how all of this is being seen in Brussels. Many in the UK still believe that the EU might finally budge on March 21 and offer MPs something they can swallow.

Even as European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker sat next to May in Strasbourg on Monday, saying that there were no more concession to be made, a large number of influential people listening in London simply didn't believe him. They maintain that this is all part of some larger drama and that some kind of last-minute deal can be clinched at the eleventh hour.

May herself may even privately not have believed Juncker, as she committed, after seeing her vote tank a second time, to rescuing it.

This all looks very different in Europe. The UK's position on Brexit has, it's fair to say, not been predictable or stable over the past three years.

The EU now sees the UK as an unreliable negotiating partner and, short of a thumping Commons victory for one option or another, is reluctant to spend more political capital trying to bail out a UK that it can no longer predict nor depend upon.

On Friday, Brexit will be 14 days away. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that two weeks from deadline day, the state of Brexit will have remained virtually static for the best part of three years.

At some point, that has to change. And when it does, the fallout and consequences of this political failure will be savage. And it's very hard to envisage a scenario in which the first victim isn't May herself.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93963

Reported Deaths: 3539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17254514
Cuyahoga12753477
Hamilton9160248
Lucas4944318
Montgomery405778
Summit3294217
Marion288444
Butler271459
Mahoning2411253
Pickaway235742
Stark1690132
Lorain163476
Warren163435
Columbiana158260
Trumbull1433103
Fairfield125425
Delaware120618
Licking112543
Clark108613
Lake104336
Wood92458
Clermont85511
Medina83533
Miami76937
Tuscarawas74713
Portage71760
Allen65442
Greene62611
Belmont58926
Richland54012
Ashtabula53945
Mercer53513
Geauga53143
Erie52427
Wayne49958
Ross4014
Huron3764
Ottawa35925
Athens3451
Madison33310
Sandusky33217
Holmes3226
Darke32127
Hancock3202
Auglaize2225
Lawrence2200
Union2161
Jefferson2063
Washington19722
Putnam19217
Scioto1881
Coshocton1866
Muskingum1811
Knox1692
Crawford1685
Preble1662
Seneca1613
Shelby1604
Morrow1582
Hardin15012
Clinton1486
Fulton1401
Champaign1381
Ashland1333
Highland1321
Defiance1294
Williams1243
Logan1231
Wyandot1207
Brown1121
Guernsey1117
Hocking1119
Carroll1085
Henry1061
Perry1062
Fayette970
Monroe9118
Van Wert691
Jackson670
Pike660
Paulding610
Gallia581
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs250
Harrison201
Morgan200
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Angola
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Cooler Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events