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Headlines are changing by the hour since the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, threw a pile of sh*t at the fan when he whipped out a rulebook from 1604 (you read that right) and tried to block the third so-called “Meaningful Vote” that was inevitably going to force voters into a decision so Britain could finally move forward (or so we thought).
On Monday, the U.K. “took back control” of Brexit proceedings from Prime Minister Theresa May, theoretically overthrowing her as captain of the (sinking) ship, but while the cabinet was expected to tell May her time was up, the subject of her official departure wasn’t raised during Monday’s meetings.
Everything was back up in the air with parliament’s takeover, and it seemed as though things were going back to square one.
Then on Wednesday, MPs voted simultaneously on as many Brexit options as they wanted, but (shocker) they rejected every single one of the proposed alternatives, meaning they literally made zero progress — and MPs were pretty pissed, especially since now they’ll have to return to the Commons tomorrow for another round of voting. (It’s a hard life.)
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
However, the man who wants to take control of the Brexit proceedings doesn’t instil any more confidence than May did. Oliver Letwin is the MP behind the “alternative Brexit” but is better known for leaving government documents in a park garbage bin. (Charming.)
Despite this, he’s been hailed by some as “prime minister in all but name” (though, with the way things are going, anyone else could be the new poster child of Brexit tomorrow).
His band of rebels include Dominic Grieve (Conservative, like Letwin), Yvette Cooper (Labour), Hilary Benn (Labour), and Nick Boles (Conservative).
As the voting process got underway on Wednesday, May announced that she would step down as prime minister if the Conservative MPs backed her deal. (Talk about a catch-22.)
Talk temporarily shifted from parliament implementing a new Brexit vote to when May might step down, speculating that it could be as early as next week if her deal passed, or as late as the EU parliamentary elections, which the U.K. would take part in if the EU departure date was postponed. (May doesn’t want the U.K. to take part, so it makes sense that she’d say adios before that came to pass.)
But despite the initial enthusiasm for May’s bribe idea, it shall not be. On Friday, British MPs held a third vote on May’s Brexit deal and once again, it was rejected by a vote of 344–286.
CAST THE BALLOT
Daylight Saving Time doesn’t seem so bad when you really break it down, right?
British MPs were given eight options to vote on after Monday’s parliamentary takeover. Though — sadly — none included going back in time, one of the options under consideration was cancelling Brexit all together if a no-deal Brexit appears on the horizon.
(We can hear the British citizens saying, “Are you f**king kidding me?” all the way over here.)
Despite the plethora of alternatives and a chance to essentially start over, the vote didn’t yield a single majority and instead all eight options were rejected, which left even Speaker John Bercow speechless. (At this point, it seems like British MPs just like saying no.)
Your guess is as good as ours.
With the rejection of all eight alternative options and a third rejection of May’s renegotiated withdrawal agreement, it seems like Britain is headed straight for a no-deal Brexit.
So, what exactly is a no-deal Brexit?
A no-deal Brexit means the U.K. would be forced to leave the European Union without any sort of agreement in place about how the two regions will work together in the future. This could be disastrous for businesses and individuals in both, as it would affect work permits, driving permits, trade agreements and border security.
According to several MPs, they won’t let a no-deal Brexit happen, but at this point, it doesn’t seem like it can be avoided.
In order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, Theresa May has until April 12 to negotiate a longer extension. British MPs will also try to agree on a new alternative tomorrow, which may mean a second referendum on Brexit, negotiating a customs union with the EU or revoking Brexit all together.
As for the EU, the council’s said it’s done negotiating. European council president, Donald Tusk, called on Friday for an emergency leaders’ summit and agreed to give the U.K. 11 days to come up with a new plan. (Any plan.) On April 10, EU leaders will debate any request the U.K. puts forth for an additional extension, but have warned that the U.K. better present them with a darn good reason for the request (and no, “we still haven’t gotten our sh*t together” doesn’t count).
The European commission released a statement on Friday saying: “A ‘no-deal’ scenario on 12 April is now a likely scenario. The EU has been preparing for this since December 2017 and is now fully prepared for a ‘no-deal’ scenario at midnight on 12 April. The EU will remain united.” (Ouch.)
There’s also a good chance that the U.K. will hold a general election. With May offering to resign and her proposal’s third rejection (three strikes and you’re out, as they say), opposition leaders say it’s time for her to quit and let the British people decide how (and who) they want to move forward.