February 22, 2020

What Is the Labour Party's Role in Brexit?

“Three years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and two weeks after it was supposed to have left, Prime Minister Theresa May returned to Europe this week, hat in hand, to ask for a second, last-minute extension. Hanging in the balance were Britain’s access to certain food and medicine, the stability of its financial markets, and peace at the Irish border—all of which would be threatened were the U.K. forced to exit the EU with no deal in place.

Late Wednesday, the EU offered not the short-term extension May had sought, but a six-month delay. Through the revised timeframe, a second referendum and a general election would seem to be back on the table, throwing both Brexit’s and the prime minister’s future into doubt—if, that is, the opposition can finally rouse itself to action.

Even in these less-than-normal times, one would expect such high-stakes, eleventh-hour games to produce a change in government. Perhaps more than that, one would have expected the two no-confidence votes, the three rejections of the prime minister’s Brexit deal, the twenty-two ministerial resignations, and the humiliation of a 26 percent approval rating to have ousted Theresa May and the Tories out of power long before this latest turn. But even as the prime minister has lost the support of her party, her Parliament, and her people, her political fortunes have remained buoyed by the misfortunes of a divided and desultory opposition.”

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