Theresa May's Brexit is being ruined by British democracy

British Prime Minister Theresa May is juggling many problems right now. Defending her government's role in the threat...

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 3:11 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 3:11 PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May is juggling many problems right now. Defending her government's role in the threatened deportation of some legal immigrants, which has overshadowed the Queen's final Commonwealth summit in London, and controversy over her decision to join in airstrikes in Syria without a vote in Parliament, to name but two. With so many political crises swirling around her government, it is easy to forget that there is one problem that will not be solved for many months, if not years: Brexit.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was defeated in the House of Lords in a key vote on Britain's departure from the European Union. Peers rejected a proposal to withdraw Britain from a customs union with the European Union after Brexit without a proper debate in Parliament.

The Lords is often seen as an outdated body -- unelected and aging -- but it has the power to inflict damage and cripple government policy when it sees fit. What's more, the seniority of members voting against May was considerable: they included five former Cabinet ministers, several former junior ministers and every living former Cabinet secretary -- the most senior official in the British government. A second defeat for the government swiftly followed the first.

The vote on the customs union is crucial because it marks what many see as the dividing line between a hard and soft Brexit. May's plan is to withdraw the UK from both the EU single market and any customs union with the EU, and is one of her negotiating red lines. Yet opponents regard this "hard Brexit" plan as detrimental to the British economy, and want the UK to remain in some form of customs union with Brussels.

But the customs union vote was also only the beginning of what will likely be a war of attrition on all aspects of Brexit between the Lords, where May does not have an overall majority, and the Commons, where the government's majority only exists because of the smaller DUP party of Northern Ireland. In the next few months, both houses of Parliament are likely to take apart her plans for a hard Brexit.

Later this month, the Lords are likely to defeat the government on plans to fix the date and time of Brexit for 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019, and on issues related to the Irish border.

While May can expect to overturn some votes when the legislation returns to the Commons, this is not guaranteed: several of her own MPs plan to rebel against the government, while the DUP could decide to pull support for the Prime Minister if plans for the Irish border post-Brexit are not to their liking.

There is alarm in both legislative houses over plans to implement a "no deal" Brexit if the carefully negotiated agreement between Britain and the EU is rejected by the UK parliament. May claimed in a speech last year that "no deal is better than a bad deal," but opponents insist this would damage the economy, inviting costly tariffs for businesses trying to trade with the rest of the world.

The timing of the defeat was made all the more awkward because it coincided with the year anniversary of May's decision to call a snap election -- which led to her losing her overall majority.

It also came as May's predecessor, David Cameron, gave an interview to CNN's Christiane Amanpour in which he said he had no regrets over calling a referendum on EU membership, adding that he "wished my successor well." The Prime Minister is going to need more than well-wishing if she is to survive the next year in Downing Street without being forced from office over Brexit.

So what can she do? A final deal on Brexit between the UK government and Brussels is expected by October.

This deal will need the approval of the UK Parliament before it can be implemented. Yet the House of Lords has started to reject a hard Brexit, and it is likely that the House of Commons, when it gets its chance to vote, will too.

If she wants Britain to leave the EU by March 29, 2019 she needs to start negotiating with MPs and peers and make concessions on the most contentious points, including membership of a customs union, to soften Brexit.

This would not go against the wishes of the British people, who voted for Brexit on a referendum question that gave no details on customs union membership. Otherwise, successive parliamentary defeats will mean her biggest problem is being able to hold onto office.

West Lafayette
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 43°
Kokomo
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Monticello
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Logansport
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Chilly and cloudy Tuesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events