Voters still need to decide on Brexit

The Lords passed the Brexit delay legislation and the Queen is expected to give her assent. Further, the opposition has agreed to oppose an election until they’re certain Boris Johnson can’t force through a “no deal” Brexit.[1]

Let us return to the Times flowchart.
Graphic from the Times, September 4. Assuming all happens as it is now expected, the ball will be back in the European Union’s court. The possibilities would then be those in the bottom row, left three boxes.[2]

Especially note the possibility that the European Union declines to delay Brexit.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose country now holds the rotating EU presidency, said he doesn’t believe it is possible to make any sort of deal with the UK now because of the “mess” Brexit has become.

“I hope that we can reach a situation where this (Brexit) can be solved so that there is no mess, but it seems not possible now,” he told reporters in Helsinki. “The situation in Britain is quite a mess now. We don’t know what’s happening there. It seems very obvious that we are not getting Brexit with an agreement.”[3]

I gotta tell ya, that doesn’t sound like an automatic ‘yes’ to me. Because it’s still hard to see any other solution to the contentious Irish backstop[4] and Parliament has voted Theresa May’s deal down because of the backstop three times already and indeed has for months failed to agree on any Brexit plan.[5] So even if the E.U. assents, it’s hard to see another deal being negotiated, which is to say, a delay is simply kicking the can down the road.

Parliament would then either have to pass Theresa May’s deal or Boris Johnson gets his “no deal” Brexit anyway,[6] because “no deal” is still the legal default.[7]

The plan to call a new general election really doesn’t address the dilemma. It is, as I said a while ago: There needs to be another referendum so voters can decide between three options: 1) remain in the European Union; 2) Theresa May’s deal with the Irish backstop; or 3) a “no deal” Brexit.[8]

  1. [1]Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019,
  2. [2]Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019,; Francis Elliott and Oliver Wright, “Moderates attack Boris Johnson after Tory rebels have whip removed,” Times, September 4, 2019,
  3. [3]Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019,
  4. [4]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019,; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019,; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019,; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019,; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019,; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018,; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019,; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019,; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019,; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019,
  5. [5]Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019,
  6. [6]Francis Elliott and Oliver Wright, “Moderates attack Boris Johnson after Tory rebels have whip removed,” Times, September 4, 2019,
  7. [7]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019,; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019,; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019,
  8. [8]David Benfell, “About Brexit,” Not Housebroken, May 7, 2019,

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