Prime Minister Theresa May is barely holding onto power. The beleaguered prime minister was censored following her decision not to publish legal advice regarding her Brexit plan. This led to a vote of contempt from Parliament, marking the first time a prime minister had ever been voted in contempt.
May had tried to keep the legal advice confidential, instead of publishing the content. Her opponents in Parliament were livid, arguing that she was trying to cover things up. This led to the no-confidence vote, which the Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer labeled a “badge of shame.”
Perhaps more importantly, Parliament also voted to give itself increased say in the Brexit process should May’s Brexit approval be rejected. As of right now, May’s proposal is likely to go down in flames. If so, Parliament will be able to push for a softer exit that will maintain closer ties to the EU. Parliament will also be able to push for a second referendum.
May also suffered defeat in the European Court of Justice as well, with the EU ruling that the United Kingdom could unilaterally end the Brexit process without approval from the other members of the European Union. May had been arguing otherwise, contending that other EU members would need to also support efforts to halt Brexit.
May is trying to strongarm Brexit but her party is now a minority in Parliament. Only her alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland has kept her in power. However, even among her Conservative Party, she is losing support. On the UK side, Brexit is in peril.
This is important for May because drumming up support for the United Kingdom to stay in the EU would have been difficult. Had the Court of Justice ruled in her favor, the Brexit train would have been much harder to derail, perhaps even making Brexit inevitable. Now, the ball is solely in the United Kingdom’s court.
The ruling will make it much easier for those in the United Kingdom seeking to remain in the European Union. During the referendum, pro-Brexit advocates argued that leaving the EU would be a relatively simple process and that the United Kingdom would be able to maintain many of the benefits of association with the EU, such as access to the common markets, without having to deal with the headaches of the Brussels bureaucracy.
Turns out, that was far from the truth. No matter what happens, Brexit will turn out to be a painful process for the United Kingdom. The UK is set to lose out on billions worth of business, with banks and other companies set to flee the United Kingdom for continental Europe.
Many argue that the UK’s citizens made their decision to leave the United Kingdom based on false promises and premises. YouGov polls currently show that nearly half of United Kingdom citizens believe Brexit is the wrong course of action, while just over 40 percent still support exiting.
Given how messy the Brexit process has become, don’t be surprised if the United Kingdom takes another crack at Brexit through a second referendum. While some might argue this is undemocratic, the first referendum appears to have been held under false pretenses.