A hundred days before the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) scheduled for March 29, 2019 British Prime Minister Theresa May's frustration has become more obvious than ever. The situation today is that none of the possible Brexit options will gain the approval of the House of Commons. And without the green light from the British Parliament the Brexit agreement will be basically invalid.
Most experts believe that in this context, the only way for the Prime Minister would be a new referendum on Brexit. But Theresa May opposes it vigorously. Indeed, the first referendum on the country's withdrawal from the EU took place on June 23rd, 2016 when supporters of the "divorce" won by a close shave with a 51.9/48.1 percent split for leaving.
Although the referendum was held two and a half years ago, the Brexit dust has not yet settled in the United Kingdom. The situation reached its climax last week, when on December 10 Theresa May, fearful of a failure, postponed a crucial parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal with the EU for an indefinite period. Later, on December 12, representatives of Britain's ruling Conservative party (Tories) held a vote of no confidence in their own leader. But Theresa May managed to maintain hold on power as party leader and Prime Minister.
On December 13 the EU summit in Brussels saw EU members making it clear that there will be no more concessions, and the time for negotiations on Brexit is over. Apart from that, December 17 saw leader of the opposition Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn proposing to hold another vote in the Parliament – involving all the members of the House of Commons this time – on May's activities as Prime Minister. However, this initiative elicited no response from the MPs, and the vote never took place.
It is worth pointing out that within the given scenario there is another "rigid" Brexit option – the one without an agreement. But it is fraught with dire consequences for the British economy and is pretty much unacceptable. Serving an obvious example is the recent failed effort to "overthrow" Theresa May by the ultra-liberal wing of the Tory party advocating the "no-deal" Brexit. But provided that the parliamentary vote on the agreement does take place in January 2019, as the Prime Minister promised earlier, the mentioned wing may block the deal.
Many analysts believe that the current Brexit situation could have been avoided if Theresa May had not made so many mistakes in the negotiation process with the EU from the ground up. Apparently, in March 2017, when the process of United Kingdom's "divorce" from the European Union had just begun, the British Prime Minister did not have a clear idea of how the new relationship between London and Brussels should look like. There is only one lame excuse for her – not a single EU country has left the Union so far.
For the time being, according to a recent Daily Telegraph publication, the country's government has held secret legal consultations on the consequences of extending Article 50 (stipulating the principles of withdrawing from the European Union – ed. note). The lawyers explained among other things that should the British exit be postponed, the country will have to take part in the 2019 European Parliament election and send its representatives to Brussels.
There will be a major risk of legal consequences in case of the British government's refusal to do so, since it will violate the rights of Britons as EU citizens, whom they are considered until officially leaving the Union.
Ministers from among fans of a second referendum appeared dismissive of these explanations. Those imply after all that Article 50 cannot be extended beyond July 2, the start of the next five-year session of the European Parliament. But the same ministers say that the second referendum management would take at least a year, which makes holding a new plebiscite technically impossible.
The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland is believed to never tolerate the very idea of extending Article 50, which means that in case of undertaking such a step, the government will lose its coalition ally, making Britain simply uncontrollable from that moment on.
Today it is quite obvious that Theresa May has played herself into a corner, and recovering without losses will become a monumental challenge. No wonder that the British press reported high chances of May's leaving the post of Prime Minister in April 2019, immediately after the Brexit deal, if any. This information did not come as a surprise, because last week she herself announced the intention to quit and not run in the 2022 general election.
But ordinary British citizens are none the better for it. Brexit has already split the country into two warring camps. Not only did almost half of the people of the British Isles vote against the country's withdrawal from the European Union in June 2016, a movement for holding a new referendum on this issue is currently gaining momentum, especially in Scotland, which can further aggravate the situation within the country and even cause riots.
Such a scenario forced the authorities to prepare a secret plan, which had been disclosed in September after a leak from the National Police Coordination Center of Great Britain. This plan binds British police leaders to hedge against a large-scale civil unrest that may accompany the Brexit process. And this week, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said that 3,500 troops will be ready to support the government in case of a no-deal Brexit.
In short, a "divorce" from the European Union could hurl the UK into real chaos. The saddest thing is that as a result a situation may occur when the Brexit issue will come upon those who will pay for it (about 40 billion dollars), e.g. British taxpayers. And this will be a complete disaster for the United Kingdom.