Stories by Peter Kellner

Expert Voices

Fate of Brexit still muddled after latest round of votes in Parliament

British Prime Minster Theresa May attends a press conference at the European Commission
Theresa May at a press conference at the European Commission. Photo: Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

The U.K. government lost two significant votes this week, as Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and ruled out a no-deal Brexit. They also rejected some alternative proposals for resolving the crisis.

The big picture: The problem is that members of Parliament fall into four main groups on the Brexit issues, and none commands a majority.

Expert Voices

Failed deal spells uncertainty for Brexit and May's long-term survival

Political artist Kaya Mar stands with his painting depicting Prime Minister Theresa May playing a violin outside Millbank Studios in Westminster on January 16, 2019 in London, England.
Political artist Kaya Mar with his painting in London, England. Photo: Jack Taylor via Getty Images

The U.K. Parliament has rejected the government’s Brexit plans, in a sweeping 432–202 vote. The development plunges U.K. politics into crisis: While there’s a clear majority against the government’s plans, there’s no evident majority in favor of a specific alternative.

Why it matters: If Parliament cannot agree on what to do next, the U.K. will by default crash out of the EU without a deal. This could do immense damage to the U.K.'s economy, potentially taking as much as a 10.7% hit to the country’s GDP.

Expert Voices

Delayed Brexit vote forestalls near certain defeat for May's plan

Theresa May getting out of a car
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May outside Downing Street. Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Faced with almost certain rejection, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a parliamentary vote on Monday on her plans for leaving the EU. To win over MPs, she is now seeking to amend the deal, in particular the complex arrangements concerning the future of the border between the U.K. and Ireland — the only land border between the U.K. and the rest of the EU.

The big picture: EU leaders have made clear that the 585-page withdrawal agreement cannot be changed. All May can expect is a side letter containing a legally meaningless “clarification,” which will satisfy very few, if any, MPs in London. Whenever she calls the vote, she is likely to face a heavy parliamentary defeat.