Brexit countdown: the five possible outcomes with 200 days to go

  10 September 2018    Read: 890
Brexit countdown: the five possible outcomes with 200 days to go

There are perhaps few better gauges than this of the confusion still surrounding Brexit: with just 200 days to go before the official departure date, five possible plans are still being touted by MPs, and itis hard to argue that any of them could command a safe majority in the Commons. This is what they propose:

Chequers

The idea as pushed through the cabinet by Theresa May, and still the only comprehensive scheme. The UK’s departure from the single market and customs union would be offset by a pledge for continued EU regulatory alignment, particularity on goods. It is hated by Brexiters, who say it will derail plans for new trade deals, and mistrusted by remainers who argue the customs plan is unworkable.

Chances of success: a tough call. The leading Eurosceptic Steve Baker says 80 Tory MPs would oppose it, and Labour is still not convinced.

Canada-plus
So named as it would be modelled on the Canadian deal with the EU, this would be a fairly straightforward free trade deal, with some add-ons. What these would be remains to be seen – the European Research Group, which represents hard Brexit-minded Tory MPs, has yet to publish its promised plan. Leaks of it show proposals for widespread tax cuts as a “Brexit bonus”, but little in the way of a workable plan for the Irish border. Business groups say it could wreak havoc on supply chains.

Chances of success: slim. Many remainer Tory MPs would seem set to oppose it, as would Labour. Brexiters hope it could pass as the only viable option to no deal.

WTO rules/no deal
A default to World Trade Organization rules for international commerce would form the basis of this plan, the proponents hoping it would include arrangements with the EU on areas such as aviation and medicine. The preserve of Brexit true believers, most notably Jacob Rees-Mogg, who on Tuesday will reiterate his long-held argument that the UK economy would thrive under a WTO regime. He is backed in this by the veteran free market economist Patrick Minford – but not by many others.

Chances of success: as a positive choice by MPs, pretty much zero. Only seems possible as a cliff-edge departure if a deal falls apart at the last moment.

EEA/Norway
The softest of Brexits, which would see the UK out of the EU but still tied to many of its mechanisms via membership of the European Economic Area, the semi-detached model used by Norway. Much talked about during the EU referendum, the Norway model has suffered from the narrative pursued by Brexiters, who argue it would amount to a betrayal of the vote. On Monday, the former education secretary and Tory remainer Nicky Morgan said she believed it had majority support in the Commons. There is, however, one problem: Labour has officially ruled it out.

Chances of success: if it was down to the individual beliefs of MPs, probably quite high. But unless there is a major revolt against Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy, it seems doomed.

Second referendum
The option that gives Liberal Democrats and other ardent remainers a giddy feeling. Couched by supporters as a “people’s vote” on any final deal, rather than a re-run of June 2016, this proposes giving voters the choice of accepting a final agreement, or staying in the EU. Proponents have a strong argument that so much has changed since the original referendum that another vote is only logical; opponents say it is a sneaky tactic by bad losers. It has the support of an increasing number of backbench MPs, plus interest is growing among unions.

Chances of success: not great, but worth remembering that Corbyn has yet to definitively rule out backing another vote.

 


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