Theresa May will be obliged to present MPs with a new Brexit plan within three days if her current proposal is voted down next week, after a procedural amendment to the plan’s progress through the Commons was passed amid chaotic scenes.
The amendment to the business motion for the plan, drawn up by the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, gives May the deadline to put forward new plans if she loses the vote, as many expect, next Tuesday.
The amendment was passed by 308 votes to 297 following stormy scenes in which a series of Conservative MPs castigated the Speaker, John Bercow, for allowing the amendment.
May's Plan Shattered
May's plan all along was to run down the clock with a binary choice of her deal or no deal.
The vote changes that.
Proceedurally, Bercow did not have to allow that vote and many Tories were upset that he allowed the vote.
Walls Closing In
Prime Minister Theresa May often puts off critical decisions over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, hoping to wear down opponents through doggedness and determination. But her room to maneuver is rapidly shrinking.
The problem is that Mrs. May does not appear to have a Plan B, except to continue to talk to the European Union and hope that she can cajole more lawmakers to support Plan A.
In desperation, Mrs. May seems to be reaching out to pro-Brexit lawmakers with the opposition Labour Party by dropping hints that the government might accept amendments to her Brexit plan that would protect workers’ rights and the environment. She also made rare calls to two union bosses, though to no avail. And most Labour lawmakers would require a much bigger shift of policy to consider supporting the government, if they are persuadable at all.
Pritchard Gets it Wrong
That strikes me as silly, because a no-deal Brexit is the default option.
Under Article 50, the UK leaves the EU, by law, on March 29. The only choices are revocation, May's EU agreement, no-deal.
Talk of Norway, Canada, and even a second referendum do not change the hard math.
And May's deal is universally opposed.
No Majority for Anything
Guess what? If no other option gets majority support, then a no-deal Brexit wins.
And bear in mind that any plan B option must be approved by the EU.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock