Brexit lost by the worst margin in modern British history today, opening the door to scenarios once seen as outlier at best, Axios World Editor David Lawler notes.
- Before the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May called it the "most significant that anyone will ever be part of in our political careers."
- But May was defeated 202 to 432, a margin of 230 votes.
- The previous record was a margin of 166 votes in 1924.
By the numbers: There's now a 45% chance that one of three previously extreme scenarios — fresh elections (10%), no deal (5%) or a second referendum (30%) — comes to pass, per a new forecast from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
- Fresh elections: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a motion of no confidence in May’s government in an effort to force a general election. The conventional wisdom is that members are so fearful of a Prime Minister Corbyn that they’ll back May. But the conventional wisdom has a poor track record when it comes to Brexit.
- No deal: There’s little appetite in Westminster, or in Brussels, for the U.K. to crash out of the EU without a deal. The economic consequences would be dire. But Brexit Day is just six weeks away, and May says "no deal" is a "very real risk." She’ll almost certainly have to buy time from Brussels in order to avoid it.
- No Brexit: A second referendum has never looked more likely. A growing chorus says it’s the only logical step, considering no possible deal commands a majority in Parliament. European Council President Donald Tusk joined in today, tweeting: "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?"
What's next: "Boris Johnson said it was a 'bigger defeat than people have been expecting' — and it meant Mrs May's deal was now 'dead,'" the BBC reports.
- "But [Johnson] said it gave the prime minister a 'massive mandate to go back to Brussels' to negotiate a better deal, without the controversial Northern Ireland backstop."