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brexit chaos
April 3, 2019

European officials are conspicuously preparing for a chaotic no-deal divorce from Britain next week, Britain's Parliament is hopelessly deadlocked on a Brexit plan to avert a no-deal debacle, and on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May tried a new tactic: Bipartisanship.

In a televised statement after seven hours of Brexit talks with her Cabinet, May said she would ask the European Union for another short Brexit delay so she could "sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan — that we would both stick to — to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal." She said any deal reached with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would have to include the exit deal she negotiated with the EU — and which Parliament rejected for a third time on Friday — but Britain's post-Brexit relationship with the EU was up for negotiation.

May's outreach to Corbyn enraged hardline Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party, but Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay insisted Wednesday that May had to "seek votes from the opposition benches because 35 of my own colleagues would not support the prime minister's deal." A soft Brexit "is undesirable," he told BBC News, "but it's the remorseless logic of the numbers of the House of Commons."

In other words, May "tried delivering Brexit with Tory votes — Tory Brexiteers said 'No,'" explained BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg. "Now she's going to try to deliver Brexit with Labour votes. In a way, it is as simple as that." Corbyn said he learned of May's outreach via TV but was "very happy" to meet with her and recognized his responsibility to keep Britain from "crashing out" of the EU. Labour wants a customs union with the EU, worker and environmental protections, and no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

It's not clear when or even if May and Corbyn will meet, but Brexiteers are warning her outreach will split apart the Tories, who have been ambling toward a schism over Europe for 30 years. Peter Weber

March 27, 2019

British lawmakers on Wednesday night rejected all eight proposed Brexit options, including a commitment for the government to negotiate a customs union with the European Union. That plan was narrowly shot down, losing by eight votes.

On Monday, lawmakers passed an amendment allowing them to vote on as many options as they wanted on Wednesday, which choices including leaving the EU without a deal, revoking Article 50, and holding a second Brexit referendum. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said Wednesday's results are proof Prime Minister Theresa May's deal, which has been rejected twice, is the best and only way to go forward.

Earlier in the day, May offered to resign once her deal is approved. The United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29, but the EU agreed last week to delay Brexit until May 22 as long as British lawmakers passed May's withdrawal deal. Absent that agreement, Brexit will only be postponed until April 12. Catherine Garcia

March 27, 2019

The NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 begins on Thursday, but Britain's own March Madness has already reached the Elite Eight.

On Wednesday, Parliament will begin voting on alternative Brexit plans after seizing control of the House of Commons agenda on the withdrawal process on Monday from Prime Minister Theresa May, who told Members of Parliament on Wednesday that she would resign after a deal is passed. Here's a rundown of what you need to know about yet another round of Brexit voting.

MPs will consider eight plans: Some of the more drastic possibilities that have been proposed are a no-deal Brexit, revoking Article 50 altogether, and a second referendum. Read a full breakdown of all eight plans at The Guardian.

The rules are vague: The rules surrounding the vote are essentially non-existent. So expect some more of the usual chaos that has defined Brexit. MPs can vote for as many of the eight options as they wish, and there is no system for eliminating options in place. Even so, Parliament is determined to vote again next Monday on a whittled down pool of proposals, per The Financial Times.

It won't end on Wednesday: FT reports that it is unlikely any plan will receive a majority vote of 317 on Wednesday, but that it should become a possibility when Monday rolls around.

It might not matter: The alternative votes are not legally binding and FT reports that May is willing to ignore the results "if they conflict with the 2017 conservative party manifesto." Tim O'Donnell

March 18, 2019

The chaos that is Brexit continued in classic form on Monday, despite a reprieve from the voting carousel that took place last week, as the March 29 departure deadline rapidly approaches.

The speaker of Britain's House of Commons, John Bercow, said on Monday that he plans to block a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's European Union withdrawal agreement — which faced two resounding defeats in Parliament already — unless May could present a "substantially" different deal this time around.

Adding to the drama is the fact that Bercow did not notify May's office of his decision ahead of time, which subsequently, The Washington Post reports, created "further uncertainty" about Brexit's future.

"We are in a major constitutional crisis here," Robert Buckland, the government's solicitor general, told BBC in a television interview, per The New York Times.

Parliament is still waiting to hear whether Brussels will agree to an extension of Article 50 that would delay Brexit beyond March 29, but, as May has noted, an extension could only prolong the problem. Still, the prime minister will travel to EU headquarters on Thursday to attempt to broker an agreement. Tim O'Donnell

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