January 09, 2019

What’s Worse Than Brexit? This.

A new referendum could make Theresa May’s current predicament look comfortable.

By Rachel Rizzo

It’s official: the delayed parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s initial Brexit deal with the European Union is now scheduled for Jan. 15. May has had a brutal couple of months, culminating in a no-confidence vote spurred from within her own Conservative Party last December, which put her in a weaker position than at any other time during her premiership. She even received the dreaded Kate McKinnon treatment on Saturday Night Live, showing just how deeply her predicament has penetrated the news zeitgeist.

But May’s troubles don’t end there, and what will happen next week when she faces Parliament is anybody’s guess. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said there is no room to renegotiate a new deal and told the UK to “get its act together” ahead of the January vote; the long-term question of how to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland continues to be a sticking point, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas saying a hard border would be unacceptable to the EU. All the while the Labour Party, led by avowed euroskeptic Jeremy Corbyn, would prefer Parliament vote down her deal next week so that his forces can push for a revolt within her government and move on a full vote of no confidence, forcing a general election.

So, yeah: If there’s one word to describe the current state of Brexit, it’s “ugly.” In fact, short of a hard crash out of the EU—which, absent a deal, will happen on March 29, 2019—it’s hard to see how things could get uglier. Unless, of course, talk of a new referendum becomes a reality.

Read the full article and more in POLITICO Magazine.

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