Stories by Peter Kellner

Expert Voices

What could happen if the Brexit negotiations break down

British Prime Minister Theresa May finishes speaking to the media as she arrives for the October summit of European Union leaders on October 18, 2018.
British Prime Minister Theresa May finishes speaking to the media at the October summit of European Union leaders on October 18, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Sean Gallup via Getty Images

Wednesday’s summit of European leaders, which followed another meeting last month, failed to produce a breakthrough in the Brexit talks. If the negotiations fall apart, it could precipitate a major crisis for Britain’s government and Parliament.

The big picture: If the March 29, 2019, withdrawal date comes without an agreement on the day-to-day U.K.–EU relationship, MPs would urgently seek a way to resolve the crisis. All potential solutions are likely to involve a U.K. request to delay withdrawal, with a new referendum being the most likely outcome.

Expert Voices

Brexit deadline adds pressure to U.K.–EU talks

Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron following a meeting on the sidelines of the European Union leaders summit in Brussels
Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron following a meeting at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, on March 22, 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

European leaders on Friday made enough progress in negotiations about the U.K.’s long-term relationship with the EU to move forward in the Brexit process.

Yes, but: That doesn’t mean the U.K. is set for a smooth withdrawal next spring. To get this far, the U.K. has had to make big concessions that have upset pro-Brexiteers, namely on the rights of EU citizens coming to Britain, the rights of U.K. fishing fleets in U.K. waters and the role of the European Court of Justice. The U.K. has also ceded ground on the transitional arrangements for the 20 months after Brexit.

Expert Voices

Key questions unresolved in May's latest Brexit speech

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her latest Brexit speech at Mansion House on March 2, 2018, in London, England.
British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her latest Brexit speech at Mansion House on March 2, 2018, in London, England. Photo: Jonathan Brady / WPA Pool / Getty Images

In her address last Friday about Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May failed to present a compelling vision for post-Brexit Europe. To lay the groundwork for trade negotiations in Brussels, the speech needed to meet three objectives but accomplished one at most.

May’s goals: