Brexit minus one month (or not)

With just over four weeks until the official Brexit date on March 29, Theresa May promises an extension vote on March 14. Plus Labour’s tanking polls.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On February 18, seven Labour MPs defected to form The Independent Group (TIG). In the next two days, another Labour MP and three Conservative MPs also defected. What unites the TIG MPs is their demand for a second Brexit referendum. In an attempt to prevent more defections, Jeremy Corbyn on February 25 announced that Labour would support a second referendum if Labour’s favoured “customs union” Brexit failed to pass the House of Commons.

In the past, major Conservative rebellions have come from the hard right European Research Group (ERG), who want a hard Brexit. As a result, Theresa May has tried to appease the ERG. But on February 26, faced with a rebellion from more moderate Conservatives who were going to vote for Labour backbencher Yvette Cooper’s amendment to delay Brexit, May promised a Commons vote to extend Brexit on March 14. This vote would be preceded by a vote on May’s revised deal (if any) on March 12, and a vote on whether the UK should exit without a deal on March 13. The first two votes are likely to fail. It is not yet clear how the Conservatives will whip their MPs on these votes.

In House of Commons votes on February 27, a Labour amendment that effectively proposed a customs union was defeated by 323 votes to 240, with abstentions from pro-second referendum parties and MPs. A Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) amendment to rule out a “no deal” Brexit at any time was defeated by 324 votes to 288. Cooper’s amendment to hold May to her promise was voted through with government support, but 20 ERG members voted against.

Even if parliament passes a delay on March 14, it still has to be approved unanimously by the 27 EU nations. Both France and Spain, which has its election on April 28, appear opposed to an extension without signs that a deal can be approved by the Commons.

On January 15, May’s original Brexit deal was defeated by a crushing 432 votes to 202, with 118 Conservative rebels. With Labour’s customs union ruled out, and many Labour MPs opposed to a second referendum, there is unlikely to be enough support for a left-wing version of Brexit. Even if Brexit is delayed for a few months, it only postpones the cliff edge of “no deal”.

May is very unlikely to win concessions from the EU that will satisfy the ERG, so there will still be many Conservative rebels on any new deal vote.  May’s best chance of passing her deal is to offer it just before the Brexit date, on a “no deal or my deal” basis. The question in that case is whether Labour would feel obliged to do the right thing and let May’s deal pass, likely damaging their vote and costing them the next election. As I wrote on my personal website, it is in Labour’s political interests to oppose May’s deal. If the economy crashes after a “no deal” Brexit, it is likely most voters will blame the Conservative government.

In the last month, Labour has slumped in the polls. The first catalyst was its decision to support Cooper’s amendment to delay Brexit on January 29. An Opinium poll taken in the three days after that vote had a three-point Labour lead becoming a seven-point Conservative lead.  Other polls also showed movement against Labour, though to a lesser extent. The British public clearly want Brexit resolved by March 29, and will punish a party that proposes delay. I very much doubt, given the reaction to the Cooper amendment, that support for a second referendum will help Labour with Conservative/Labour swing voters, though it may assist Labour in regaining support from TIG, the Liberal Democrats and Greens.

The second catalyst for Labour’s poll slump was the defections to TIG. All the defectors have criticised Corbyn for his stance on Brexit and anti-semitism. Until the defections, Corbyn did not support a second Brexit referendum, and this is an area where urban lefties strongly opposed him. It is a big problem for a left-wing party to be criticised by former members for antisemitism. In the latest polls, taken before Labour’s support for a second referendum was announced, Labour had dropped about eight points behind the Conservatives on standard voting intentions, and further behind if TIG is included as an option.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

49 comments on “Brexit minus one month (or not)”

  1. Two paragraphs of the article above were chopped for brevity by WB. Those are where I explain why Labour wasn’t far ahead in the polls even before the vote to delay Brexit.

    In January, Labour and the Conservatives were roughly tied in the polls. Many people ask why Labour was not far ahead given the Brexit chaos. There are two reasons. First, while the Conservatives are very divided about Brexit, so is Labour. While many Labour MPs strongly support a second referendum on Brexit, there are many who are opposed, and will vote against even with Labour officially endorsing a second referendum.

    The second reason why Labour was not far ahead of the Conservatives is the strong jobs figures in the UK. In October to December, the latest data available, the UK added 167,000 jobs from the July to September period. 75.8% of those aged 16 to 64 had a job, a record high, and the unemployment rate was just 4.0%. Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased 3.4% over the last year, or by 1.2% after adjusting for inflation. Given these figures, it could be argued that the Conservatives should be far ahead.

    Source for labour force data:

  2. Adrian Beaumont @ #2 Thursday, February 28th, 2019 – 6:12 pm

    Many people ask why Labour was not far ahead given the Brexit chaos. There are two reasons. First, while the Conservatives are very divided about Brexit, so is Labour. While many Labour MPs strongly support a second referendum on Brexit, there are many who are opposed, and will vote against even with Labour officially endorsing a second referendum.>

    When trying to understand the Brexit conundrum, this point cannot be emphasised enough.

    Thanks for your insights.

  3. Is it fair to say that the nub of Britain’s Brexit woes atm is that the electorate is divided into three irreconcilable camps (hard brexiteers, soft brexiteers and remainers), none of which command a majority and all of which would combine with whoever is blocking a positive development against whoever is proposing it?

  4. Michael A @ #5 Thursday, February 28th, 2019 – 8:35 pm

    Is it fair to say that the nub of Britain’s Brexit woes atm is that the electorate is divided into three irreconcilable camps (hard brexiteers, soft brexiteers and remainers), none of which command a majority and all of which would combine with whoever is blocking a positive development against whoever is proposing it?

    Not quite. The sad reality is that there is majority support for a soft Brexit … but it crosses party lines, so it is unlikely to actually happen.

    Therefore a hard Brexit seems inevitable, even though that outcome only has minority support.

  5. The Europeans don’t really want to UK to leave- then they can’t sell them stuff.

    So why would they want to help May out?

    Answer they won’t.

    Talk of Britain extending must be manna from heaven for them, they will make life as hard for Britain as they can forever getting them to delay the exit and getting better and better conditions.

    What a hopeless negotiators the Tories have been.

  6. The support for a soft Brexit is not support for any specific soft Brexit, hence no Labour rebels supporting May`s deal. Soft Brexit is the most complex option because there is no default soft Brexit, it is a very long list of decisions on which there are disagreements on many and all the decisions require the approval of both the UK Parliament and the governments of the other EU member-states. That means it is probably impossible now.

    The only two options likely on the table at this stage are Hard Brexit and a new referendum resulting in no Brexit because they require either no other decision being made (Hard Brexit) or a simple parliamentary majority (in both houses) for a new referendum (simple enough to be done by cross party voting) and a simple Leave/Remain Referendum (No Brexit) that is likely to favour Remain.

  7. Without getting into the details of who wants what out of Brexit, and just looking at the 4 step process now in front of the UK/EU, you can assign probabilities and see what the likely outcome might be.

    Step 1 (UK decides): vote for current deal
    100% chance to get to this Step
    – 10% chance agree (10% combined chance, stop)
    – 90% chance disagree (90% combined chance, go to Step 2)

    Step 2 (UK decides): vote on no deal
    90% chance to get to this Step
    – 10% chance agree (9% combined chance, stop)
    – 90% chance disagree (81% combined chance, go to Step 3)

    Step 3 (UK decides): vote on extension request
    81% chance to get to this Step
    – 10% chance disagree (8% combined chance, stop)
    – 90% chance agree (72.9% combined chance, go to Step 4)

    Step 4 (EU decides): vote to accept UK request
    72.9% chance to get to this Step
    – 90% chance agree (~66% combined chance, stop)
    – 10% chance disagree (~7% combined chance, stop)

    Adding up the percentages gives:
    10% chance of Soft Brexit
    24% chance of Hard Brexit
    66% chance of Extension

    You can use your own probabilities and get different results for a Hard, Soft or extended Brexit. But as pointed out earlier by Expat Follower, because the process inherently has 3 ways to get to No Deal (aka Hard Brexit), and only 1 way to reach Deal (Soft Brexit) or extend, a Hard Brexit becomes more likely.

  8. How long will the EU allow the extension to be?

    I’m thinking 12-18 months, by which time May will be gone and the hard brexiteers will be in charge.

  9. Bob, I think I read somewhere that the EU might favour a lengthy extension of something like like 19 months, to push Brexit out until the end of 2020. The reasoning is that the UK is fundamentally undecided, so a short extension won’t change anything. The UK on the other hand appear to want a short 2 to 3 month extension. I guess the shorter time frame is driven by the upcoming EU elections which the UK as a member would have to hold, and that as long as the UK is still a member it continues paying into the EU.

    To me the UK and the EU don’t look like agreeing even on an extension. It’s a mess. I suspect the Hard Brexiteers are already in control.

  10. Commonsense suggests that if there is no parliamentary majority for any form of soft brexit (be it May’s deal or anything else) – and i dont believe a general election even with the Tories picking up 30 seats will change that – that a referendum on no deal brexit vs remaining is the only practical alternative?

    There’s a theory that a maj could support a Norway style deal… but not via a Tory govt with May or anyone to her right at the helm. I cant see any way that Corbyn/McDonnel will ever be in govt under any circumstances but 1 (see below). The fantasy scenario is a group of 330 LD+SNP+tory+labor mps peeling away to renegotiate a new deal + referendum agenda… the TIG is a start but its incredibly fanciful.

    I question whether Labour would cave on May’s deal to save the country from no deal. That is electoral suicide. I think the only scenario where Corbyn becomes pm is if no deal happens and the country goes down the crapper. It would not surprise me at all if Corbyn’s strategy is to do the min to be seen to prevent no deal but essentially not cooperate in any practical way such that its the default (including taking a weak stance on any referendum).

    As much as i detest May, i think her strategy is right. She needs 120 votes to swing her deal… bank on the ERG caving because they fear remaining more, and hope to peel off another 20-30 remainers who fear no deal more.

    This idea of passing May’s deal subject to a referendum is a gamechanger… im guessing the ref qn can only be between that and remaining(?) Would you take that offer if you were May? It preserves her legacy pretty well i would argue. Corbyn going along with it makes lesser sense unless one feels he can campaign on remain, remain wins and Tory polling collapses in his favour…. i dunno.

    Pretty clear all round

  11. Expat Follower

    As you say clear as mud. But (on balance of probabilities) do you think the outcome now looks like a short extension to allow a referendum that will in the end resolve into a May’s Deal Brexit? And a lesser chance that a short extension and referendum ends in Remain?

  12. It would probably take around three or four months to organise a second referendum. So imagine, say, a three month extension for the express purpose of holding a referendum. That referendum would take place just a couple of weeks or even days before the new deadline, giving no chance to renegotiate anything if the answer is still leave.

    Imagine the tenterhooks every business in the country would be on, not knowing what outcome to plan for but with the certainty that the effect will happen almost instantly.

    Supposedly this is why the original timeframe from intention to leave to actually leaving is two years – to give everyone time to plan and prepare. Ha, ha, ha.

  13. Late Riser,

    i cant see how this bargain to “pass subject to referendum” is compatible with the 3 stage framework at all.

    i dont think May’s deal will pass on March 12 without such a bargain
    i ‘m fairly sure no deal will fail on March 13
    i think an “extension” therefore has to pass on March 14

    The “pass subject to” bargain surely subverts the whole framework – no deal is gone, we go straight to request extension to hold a referendum between Maydeal and remain. The EU would be delighted with that. There is a v decent chance Remain will win (ERG prob caves but DUP shouldnt and Corbyn has to at least weakly back remain with Momentum/other Labour to come out strongly)

    Absent said bargain, we go back to the framework…

    if May’s deal gets voted down in vote 1, one could argue that it should be extinguished as an option if we get an extension in vote 3, but i suspect not. A short extension can only be used (i) for May to seek more assurances on the backstop (ie bs) and/or to (ii) set up a definitive ‘final say’ referendum

    By the end of a small extension, i can see the same “pass subject to” deal, a ‘clock runs out’ no deal default, or a Maydeal is dead so a “hard or none” referendum deal. In options 1 & 3 a yet further extension will probably be needed?

    There cannot be an alternative soft Brexit(eg customs union / Norway) without a long extension, but i dont see how a long extension makes it to the floor for a vote, let alone gets passed by a majority without May in support. The EU would be very ballsy in between votes 2 and 3 to say “we wont agree to a short extension only a long one” – they cant do that as it ratchets up no deal the next day.

    I believe the EU would fold on the backstop to avoid a no deal… but that only will arise at the end of the extension and not before… its possible at the last minute to avoid a very scary clock runout or a hard vs none referendum that they cave… in which case perhaps Maydeal2 can get passed the week before the extension expires. Or they can gamble on the UK not committing suicide in a hard v none referendum and go for gold!

    I think a remainer’s best strategy is the “pass subject to” bargain. Highly decent chance of winning the referendum, decent chance of backstop in place permanently that its near enough to remaining anyway. Worst case scenario averted.

    Corbyn’s best strategy is to somehow engineer a No Deal without being seen to do so. If May gets any deal up then he is toast. If UK ends up Remaining i still dont see him winning an election.

    May’s best strategy is to continue to scare enough people to cave (be it the ERG, remainers or even the EU) rather than risk their respective armageddon coming to pass. I imagine she will do this all the way to the bitter end and settle for a referendum exc no deal as a plan Z.

    A No Dealer’s best strategy i think is to vote (and agitate) against everything -except vote 2 of course.

    Can a ‘pass subject to’ bargain be reached without either/both May and Corbyn in support?

    Adding up all the probabilities in each limb of the tree, i’m inclined to very weakly bet on Remain as the end result (VERY weakly)

  14. Expat Follower, I’ve had a chance to think this over. Two things occurred to me.

    First, by inserting REMAIN into the decision path (via a referendum) it now becomes one of the possible outcomes.

    Second, REMAIN as an outcome reduces the probability for HARD Brexit and yet further extensions, and increases the probability for a SOFT Brexit (since a soft Brexit could be part of the referendum).

    It may be too clever by half, but it feels like a way of saving political face and allowing the British people to pull their representative’s arses out of the fire.


  15. If the options at a referendum were May’s Brexit deal vs Remain, Remain would probably win easily. That’s because such a referendum would be similar to Aus’s republic referendum: the Leave vote would be split, with many hard Leavers opposed to May’s deal.

    This probably means May can’t offer such a referendum without splitting her party, in the same way as if she accepted Corbyn’s customs union. This is the other scenario where Labour wins the next election: if the Tory party is in civil war.

    Without official Tory support, it is very unlikely any second referendum or customs union can pass the House.

  16. Adrian Beaumont, thanks for the thoughts and the link.

    I think you’re saying that a vote on “accept the deal subject to referendum” is very unlikely to pass, or because May can’t risk any second referendum not ever happen. So the UK parliament will either go directly to an Extension or to an Extension via a vote on No Deal first, with the hope of backing up the process a couple of months. The EU might allow this once, and then in June it’s Hard Brexit or May Deal Brexit. May will have parried Corbyn at the cost of more EU goodwill.

    I’m beginning to see a future where a post-Brexit Britain, having lost N.I. and Scotland petitions the EU to rejoin, say in 25 years. Ireland and Scotland might find that delicious.

  17. LR

    I am assuming that “pass subject to” means a referendum between Maydeal and Remain, as opposed to Maydeal and No deal. I cant see Labor supporting the latter?

    I think if she doesnt make the “pass subject to” bargain then with this framework, there is no chance of a referendum outcome until into the new extension period.

    Basically a short extension is exactly the same situation as now just delayed. So one loops back to the same set of choices again… i do imagine a further short extension without any final resolution mechanism is not tenable. The only final resolution mechanism is to pass her deal, let the deadline pass and no deal it, or set a referendum. May will never unilaterally revoke Article 50 without a referendum; I think enough tories will no confidence her if she tries to cave to no deal (Corbyn’s wet dream); and as long as that prospect is true then her deal wont get a parliamentary majority.

    For that reason i think a referendum is the most likely outcome, and i lean remain as the more likely winner (whether against Maydeal or No Deal; the theoretical possibility of a 3-way preference voting referendum that delivers Maydeal on 2nd preferences is there i suppose but far-fetched?)

    I think May could probably live with her deal just going down in a referendum to Remaining – “I did everything i could do” etc, with the ERG forced to support her deal and somewhat estopped from punishing her afterwards…

  18. EF

    You and Adrian have taken me from:

    …and then in June it’s Hard Brexit or May Deal Brexit


    …and then in June it’s Referendum or May Deal Brexit

    My spreadsheet is getting complicated. 🙂

  19. Corbyn’s support for a second referendum is a major game changer.
    The Brexiters are criticising the idea of a second referendum on the ground that then there will be an argument for a third, forth, etc…. referendum…. and so on ad infinitum.
    Not so. The second referendum is only required given the current mess and incapacity of Parliament to decide. Had the path to Brexit been smooth and certain there would be no argument for a second referendum. Moreover, a “default Hard Brexit” is not default at all, because that wasn’t what people voted for at the last referendum. There is no reason to believe that those voting for Brexit had Hard-Brexit in mind.

    So, it will e eventually unavoidable to go back to voting and deciding between a Hard Brexit or Remain.

  20. Alpo i think no deal is the default because Article 50 has been invoked and on march 29 britain leaves the eu. This date can be extended. But on that date brexit happens, if no soft deal ratified then its no deal. So its the default requiring active successful intervention (a deal or an extension) to avoid it. What britain voted for back in 2016 is irrelevant legally, only a political assertion

    Cud Chewer… technically a 3way ref is easy… just like a 3-way contested seat in an aus election. If no option has 50% first preferences, the distribution of the bottom’s 2nd prefs determine the winner. In this case, odds for Maydeal go up sharply as the 2nd choice presumably for both the hard-exiters and remainers?

  21. Lol even better would be a 3-way ref on uk “first past the post” rules… Remain a pretty certain lock. I’d go along with it, daft process produces best result!

    In fact, given that the UK rejected preferential voting in a referendum back in 2016 (admittedly in the context of three cornered seat counts) there’s an argument for insisting on first past the post!!! Why Labour opposed that proposition continues to baffle me

  22. Apologies for the nerdy post. I ran through the steps to try to get my head around things and thought maybe others might appreciate it.

    It looks like the “framework” has bifurcated and now has 8 steps in it.
    Part A (Steps 1, 2, and 3) decides for a Referendum on May’s Deal.
    Part B (Steps 4,5,6,7,8) decides what to do if part A is rejected, and has a different possible referendum.

    PART A
    A1: UK parliament decides for:
    * Referendum on May’s Deal -> continue (A2)
    * No Deal -> go to part B
    Guessing 50% vs 50%

    A2: EU decides for:
    * Extension for the referendum -> continue (A3)
    * No Extension -> Hard Brexit
    Guessing 90% vs 10%

    A3: UK decides (via referendum) on:
    * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    * Remain -> No Brexit
    Guessing 50% vs 50%

    PART B
    B4: UK parliament decides for:
    * No Deal -> Hard Brexit
    * Not No Deal -> continue (B5)
    Guessing 10% vs 90%

    B5: UK parliament decides for:
    * Extension -> continue (B6)
    * No Extension -> Hard Brexit
    Guessing 90% vs 10%

    B6: EU decides for:
    * Extension -> continue (B7)
    * No Extension -> Hard Brexit
    Guessing 90% vs 10%

    B7: UK parliament decides for:
    * Referendum -> continue (B8)
    * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    Guessing 75% vs 25%

    B8: UK decides (via referendum) for:
    * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    * Remain -> No Brexit
    Guessing 25% vs 75%

    Working through the probabilities gives
    40% (Remain) No Brexit
    40% (May’s Deal) Soft Brexit
    20% (No Deal) Hard Brexit
    (to nearest 10%)

  23. What a diabolical situation. A HowNotTo on resolving constitutional issues.

    1 -Brexit was not legally defined in the original non-binding plebiscite, rendering it a motion to open a can of worms. If it passed the vote should have enacted Brexit, after negotiations, so it could be known what the options on the ballot were. Instead everyone has fantasised their own Brexit or remain, complete with unicorns. Whatever the outcome on March 29 or whenever, the self-inflicted wound will not easily be healed.

    2- just to slackadaisically add to the general FUBAR the plebiscite didn’t take account of the wishes of the constituent nations of the UK

  24. WRT any extension request by the UK. Apparently an extension of more than 58 days could land the UK in legal trouble if no EU elections are held.

    The EU is examining a range of options if the UK makes a formal request for an extension, with the potential length ranging between two and 21 months. But legal experts have advised the German parliament that any Brexit delay beyond the European elections on 23-26 May could be in breach of EU law and leave the UK open to legal action, according to a confidential report seen by Die Welt.

    If the UK does not take part in the European elections while it is still officially a member of the bloc, “British nationals resident in the UK would be denied a core set of rights giving them EU citizenship status,” the advice said. This would amount to “a violation of the active and passive voting rights of British nationals”.

    Some immediate practical questions arise.
    * How long does it take to organise EU elections in the UK?
    * How long does it take to organise a UK referendum?
    * Is it possible to do both at the same time? (Not sure that you’d want to.)
    * What are the legal risks for the UK if no EU elections are held?
    * What are the legal risks for the EU if no EU elections are held?
    * Can the EU postpone EU elections either for all members or just one member state? Perhaps it’s possible to create a legal amendment for the EU Exit process.
    * Have these time restrictions already ruled out certain options? (i.e. It is already to late.)
    * Has anyone started thinking about this?

  25. It’s surely naive of me, but I find surprising the lack of reporting on the Backstop or in fact anything relating to the Irish border. The stories I see are on internal party politics. There is nothing on solving the actual problems. (I say naive because I assume the lack of reporting on a topic reflects a lack of political interest in the topic.)

    27 days and 10 hours to go…


    Brexit could not have been defined before the negotiations with the EU were finalised or a no deal position decided on, which is crucial to actually defining which type of Brexit people were voting for, which could not happen until article 50 was triggered. David Cameron did not want Brexit, he decided on the referendum to placate the Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party without them actually getting Brexit and Article 50 was generally though not to be reversible without EU permission (which could have come with conditions, like the UK joining the Eurozone), so Article 50 was not triggered before the referendum and thus the negotiations were post referendum and thus Brexit was not able to be defined at the time of the referendum.

    Had the Parliament elected in 2015 made the referendum automatically enacting, the Parliament elected in 2017 could still reverse it as no UK Parliament can bind future UK Parliaments.

  27. Still nuts…still Irish border…still hard Brexit…now just 25 days to go

    Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, is continuing talks with the EU on how to secure an assurance that the Irish backstop will not be indefinite, so he can convince the Conservative and DUP Eurosceptics the UK cannot be bound into a permanent customs union. However, he is no longer likely to meet the Eurosceptics’ demands of a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit mechanism. Cox dismissed a Telegraph report claiming those options had been ruled out as full of “misunderstood fag ends dressed up as facts” but did not specifically deny that was the case.

  28. A view into the soul of the EU.

    “Never, since the second world war, has Europe been so essential,” Macron wrote. “Yet never has Europe been in so much danger.” He cited the Brexit referendum result as the symbol of Europe’s crisis, an example of how people could turn away from the EU if it is just seen as a “soulless market” rather than “a historic success, the reconciliation of a devastated continent in an unprecedented project of peace, prosperity and freedom.”

  29. This is an oblique comment on Brexit this morning regarding the Lords and Ladies involved in the ongoing debate. Back when I was little I thought Monty Python was making shit up. I now know I was wrong. This is a short list of some of today’s Brexit protagonists in the British parliament.

    Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
    Lady Fairhead
    Lord Hannay of Chiswick
    Lord Bilimoria
    Lord Lea of Crondall
    Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb


  30. Stealing the dates and the sentiment from Rocket Rocket on the main thread, we get a Big Brexit Week coming up.

    PART A

    Wednesday 13th (6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    A1: UK parliament decides for:
    50% * May’s Deal -> continue (A2)
    50% * No Deal -> go to part B

    A2: EU decides for:
    90% * Extension for the referendum -> continue (A3)
    10% * No Extension -> Hard Brexit

    A3: UK decides (via referendum) on:
    50% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    50% * Remain -> No Brexit

    PART B

    Thursday 14th (6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    B4: UK parliament decides for:
    10% * No Deal -> Hard Brexit
    90% * Not No Deal -> continue (B5)

    Friday 15th (6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    B5: UK parliament decides for:
    90% * Extension -> continue (B6)
    10% * No Extension -> Hard Brexit

    B6: EU decides for:
    90% * Extension -> continue (B7)
    10% * No Extension -> Hard Brexit

    B7: UK parliament decides for:
    75% * Referendum -> continue (B8)
    25% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit

    B8: UK decides (via referendum) for:
    25% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    75% * Remain -> No Brexit

  31. It’s all about May. Sigh.

    The Guardian analysis follows the 8 step framework I posted a few days ago, but it doesn’t look at what might happen to the UK at step A3, instead it describes the politics.

    At that point, having achieved a departure from the EU that pleases neither Brexiters nor remainers, she would have to decide whether to try to limp on as prime minister or announce a timetable for standing down to avoid being pushed out by her party.

    Who really cares about May? What happens to Britain if they get to this point? Reading between the lines I suppose that level of uncertainty makes accepting May’s current deal less likely, meaning we should pay more attention to Part B decisions, scheduled for the following day.

    Analyses of other steps are equally frustrating. For instance B7, a decision on May’s soft Brexit versus a new referendum is described as:

    She refuses to say. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has signalled that the cabinet would have to reach across to the Labour frontbench in negotiating a softer Brexit that incorporates a customs union. That would, in the words of one MP, send both the European Research Group (ERG) and Conservative associations “absolutely ballistic” and potentially split the party. There would almost certainly be an attempt by the rightwing of the party to get rid of her. May is, however, short on alternatives. She could go for a bold option such as a referendum on her deal versus a no-deal Brexit, or one with remain on the ballot. The latter is highly unlikely, given her determination to avoid a rerun of the first contest.

    Maybe B7 changes from

    B7: UK parliament decides for:
    * Referendum -> continue (B8)
    * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit

    to this:

    B7: UK parliament decides for:
    * No Deal -> Hard Brexit (step B8 eliminated)
    * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit

    How that plays into the decision next week (A1) will be interesting, meaning we need to pay more attention to Part A.

    It’s circular!

  32. BTW if I accept the Guardian article at face value and adjust the probabilities in the 8 step flow chart to lessen the probability that the initial vote will accept May’s current deal (A1 approval changes from 50% to 20%) and then later on (at B7) adjust the chances of accepting an amended soft Brexit from 25% to 80%, then (to the nearest 10%) the overall outcomes look like this.

    20% Remain
    60% Soft Brexit
    20% Hard Brexit

    Sometime in June.

  33. The headline: “Most EU treaties won’t be replicated in UK by 29 March, says minister”
    The article: A brief description of some of the treaties that have been achieved, and an ominous quote, “…some countries were holding out to see whether Britain crashed out of the EU or not before coming to their decision…” Ominous because it reflects Britain’s weak position and because it hints at what a hard Brexit means.
    Missing: The treaties that haven’t yet been replaced, and are unlikely to be replaced.

  34. Rocket Rocket @ #1258 Friday, March 8th, 2019 – 11:17 pm

    Good Brexit summary diagram in the Daily Mail.

    They say that May is expected to lose that first vote by around 100 votes.

    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    Copied from the main thread. (Thanks RR.) This maps closely to the 8 step “framework”, with 3 differences.
    * Dates are British not Australian East Coast, which is fair enough. It is their process.
    * There are no entries for the matching EU decisions that are required. In other words the EU are assumed to be compliant with any decisions by the UK.
    * The steps following the third vote on March 14 (March 15, AEST) ends with the options: YES[Delayed Brexit] or NO[Maybe 2nd referendum]. In the 8 step framework I have assumed the equivalent options are: YES[Delayed Brexit] or NO[Hard Brexit]. I’m not sure why it’s different, but hopefully I’ll work it out.

  35. Hmm. I seem to to be the only one posting here. Oh well. I thought I’d post an update on “Brexit in 8 Steps”. The percentages are my guess as to the outcome of any step, to allow me to calculate the overall probability for each of the three outcomes: no-Brexit, soft-Brexit, or hard-Brexit.

    Step 1: Tuesday March 12
    (Wednesday 13th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on May’s Deal w/ Extension
    (Labor wanted a guaranteed Referendum to abstain)
    20% * YES -> Step 2
    80% * NO –> Step 4

    Step 2:
    EU parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 3
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 3:
    UK Referendum decides on May’s Deal versus Remain
    50% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    50% * Remain -> No Brexit

    Step 4: Wednesday 13th
    (Thursday 14th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Hard Brexit
    10% * YES -> Hard Brexit
    90% * No –> Step 5

    Step 5: Thursday 14th
    (Friday 15th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 6
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 6:
    EU parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 7
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 7:
    UK parliament votes to hold a Referendum
    80% * YES -> Step 8
    20% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 8:
    UK Referendum decides “something”
    20% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    80% * Remain -> No Brexit

    Which to the nearest 10% gives
    50% no-Brexit
    30% soft-Brexit
    20% hard-Brexit

  36. Labour may have changed tactics.

    Labour amendment supporting second referendum put on hold

    Campaigners for a second referendum believe they can only a win a majority in the Commons if it is seen as the sole option to break the deadlock preventing any Brexit deal passing through parliament.
    Uncertainty continues. I think it means the first vote (for a Soft Brexit) will likely fail as will the one after (for a Hard Brexit). Reducing the probability that May’s deal is accepted on Wednesday (Aus time) makes overall outcome probabilities look like this.
    50% no-Brexit
    25% soft-Brexit
    25% hard-Brexit
    In other words a hard Brexit becomes slightly more likely at the expense of a soft Brexit, but No Brexit stays a 50% chance. So in effect no real change.

    (1) Maybe Labour is just accepting the slightly greater risk of a hard Brexit to save face.

    (2) Labour wants May to won this if it goes wrong.

    Labour sources said the party wanted to have a “clean vote” on May’s deal on Tuesday, and that any amendment the party puts down in the name of Jeremy Corbyn would be designed “not to get in the way”.

    (3) Also the brinkmanship continues.

    “Our compromise deal will be pushed when we judge other options have been exhausted and MPs are ready for compromise and a creative way out of this mess,”

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