Failure to Brexit as we head towards European Elections

It has been a number of weeks now since Brexit has solely dominated the news headlines. It seems to have gone relatively quiet with other issues such as elections, legacy issues and the resumption of all-party talks taking centre stage.

However, Brexit is still bubbling under the surface and it has been announced that the discussions between the Conservatives and Labour around breaking the Brexit deadlock have collapsed.

These talks began six weeks ago following the extension of the Brexit day date to October 31 2019. Both parties are blaming each other for the failure but ultimately a common position was too difficult to find. Corbyn stated that Labour would not support any Brexit deal unless it included staying in the Customs Union with the EU and protected workers rights, consumers rights and environmental rights.

This week also saw Theresa May promise to set a timetable  for the election of her successor as Prime Minister. This would follow a fourth vote in early June on her Brexit plan (which has already been rejected three times) and if she loses this vote, she has said she will resign. This increased pressure for May to step aside comes after the latest Brexit impasse and the huge losses for the Conservatives at the recent Council elections.

At the same time, we are gearing up for an election that we thought would never happen: the European Parliament Elections 2019. Due to the failure to reach a Brexit agreement by the end of March 2019, the UK political parties are now undertaking an election campaign which will surely be characterized by the Leave/Remain split that has dominated our politics for three years. Northern Ireland will elect three MEPs to the European Parliament via Single Transferable vote. A list of the NI candidates can be viewed here.

Next steps at Westminster?

There is speculation that there may be another series of indicative votes on different Brexit options over the next weeks in the House of Commons which has been done before and failed to break the deadlock. However, in the context of European elections and the possibility of a new successor, nothing is set in stone. As is all too familiar with Brexit, it is difficult to guess what will happen over the coming weeks and months.

The opinions, views or comments in this article do not necessarily reflect any views or policies of NICVA.

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