, The resounding defeat by 230 votes of PM May in the Brexit vote last Tues in the HP, raises many questions about how the UK is governed. It effectively renounces her agreement since it requires ratification by both the UK and EU Parliaments. The vote of no-confidence that followed the next day which was won by May by a much smaller margin of 19 votes, with the support of the UDP, shows how tenuous the situation is. But, a loss of the no-confidence motion introduced by Labor Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, could have resulted in the fall of the May Government and the calling of a general election, so thank goodness that fate was averted, at least for now.
May is required by a vote in the House to bring an alternative plan to the one that she said that there was no alternative to, and which the EU had said the same. The MP’s would not accept a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, and having rejected that one plan they now not only will expect to get at least one alternative to May’s plan, but they will now be able to propose their own amendments to her suggestion, that could lead to chaos. Not only will Brexiteers, those wanting to leave the EU, have the chance to propose alternatives, but even anti-Brexiteers, those not wanting to leave, and everyone in between, can make their own amendments. How not to govern a country!
However,there are serious challenges to the current process. First, some argue that the referendum that supported Brexit by a majority cannot be amended by Parliament, so that all these demands and votes are not constitutional. Second, the demand for a second referendum is a case of second guessing, I don’t like what came out of the decision we made, so now I want to change it, but it can’t be done. In other words a second referendum, which Labor supports, is also unconstitutional. Third, it may be immoral, if not illegal, for those who voted against Brexit previously to now change their vote in order to influence what Brexit deal is arrived at. Also, any change to the current plan negotiated between May’s Government and the EU, requires that the EU approve any changes to that agreement, which they have said they will not do. Finally, it is unconstitutional in the UK (which has no constitution) for Parliament to set policy, that is the responsibility of the Government.
So May is left hanging by a thread, faced by the hard Brexiteers in her own Conservative Party who do not want any arrangement with the EU after Brexit, those who never wanted to leave in the first places (such as in N. Ireland and Scotland), Labour who unenthusiastically support Brexit, but whose interest really is only to get a General Election in order to oust May, and so on. A truly chaotic situation.