Brexit Woe: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated a Brexit agreement with the European Union, but Brexit proponents view it as so bad for the United Kingdom that it may not pass in Parliament. May warns doubting lawmakers that if they don’t vote yes, Britain may stay in the E.U.

“While no deal remains a serious risk,” May declared, “having observed the events at Westminster over the last seven days, it’s now my judgment that the more likely outcome is a paralysis in Parliament that risks there being no Brexit.”

…condemn Britain to being a “vassal” state…

Such ominous language indicates May believes she is in a worse negotiating position with the E.U. than she is with her own lawmakers. So far, her opposition stands its ground. Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis said that the agreement would condemn Britain to being a “vassal” state, having to accept laws made in Brussels and not influencing them.

The U.S. ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, warned that a “quick, massive, bilateral trade deal” with the United States would be impossible with May’s deal.

To make matters worse, her party member Garret Johnson MP abruptly resigned as minister in the whips’ office to oppose May’s Brexit deal. He said that “this agreement prevents us from taking back control and instead could leave us perpetually constrained by the European Union,” adding that “I cannot accept the additional regulatory compliance required of Northern Ireland that would set it apart from the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Former UKIP leader and Brexit general Nigel Farage promised that if May’s threats of remaining in the E.U. become a reality, he will return to frontline politics – a move that has many in Westminster fearing for their careers.No matter what the outcome of Parliament’s vote, the result will be political chaos.

Theresa May

Background

So why has May allowed herself to be pushed into a deal that Brexit proponents describe as worse than a hard exit to the World Trade Organization framework? One: Northern Ireland. Two: Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Northern Ireland is a thorn in the side of the United Kingdom. Ravaged by decades of civil war, between the Irish-friendly Catholics and the loyal British Protestants, the outpost finally came to a tender peace. The E.U. has used this sore element for all it is worth in the negotiations, threatening to erect an E.U. border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is currently open. Under the Good Friday agreement that saw a cessation of hostilities, a major tenet was that no hard border would ever be erected.

The result could be a revival of the civil war, as the Catholics would not want to get stuck on the wrong side of the border.

A majority of constituencies in Scotland voted to remain in the E.U. and only a few years ago flirted with leaving the British union altogether to become an independent country. May fears that if Britain leaves the E.U., Scotland would leave the United Kingdom. She does not want the country to be torn apart.

Negotiation Skills

Brexit proponents, however, say that May does not realize what a great negotiating position she holds. The E.U. suffers from much internal trouble, and May could easily make use of this to get a better deal. In short, the E.U. is bluffing about its cards. Its hand is much worse than May believes.

In the end, the deal is going to be determined by negotiating skills, and, so far, it seems that May is not the most skilled person to forge an agreement.

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