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UK Parliament votes down the revised deal

Editorial Staff

As we noted yesterday, this newspaper's review of the so-called binding agreement reached with the EU, did not actually prevent the feared lock-in that Leavers want to ensure does not happen. The Attorney-General agreed and when his view was put before Parliament, MPs voted down the supposedly revised deal. Again. That leaves Mrs May to follow Plan X.

Plan X is to put a yes/no vote to Parliament: should the UK leave without a deal in place.

That would mean a sudden cut-off of everything, including the imposition of hard borders for people and goods. It would also mean that there would be no transitional period which, under the deal would be 21 months.

The motion reads " "This House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework on the future relationship on March 29." If Members vote "no," the results could be catastrophic for the UK and its citizens and corporate interests. If they vote "yes" then there will be another yes or no vote: should the UK seek an extension of the two years' preparation period under Article 50.

That is a dangerous game: it leaves the EU to form a consensus, within days, and some countries are very resistant to allowing the UK to leave under any terms. The EU, continuing to play hard-ball, so to speak, has said it needs strong reasons if it is to agree. If it does agree, If there is no agreement, then a no-deal exit will happen unless.. Plan Z - the UK withdraws its Article 50 notification and starts all over again.

If that happens, there is a real chance that it will be with someone else leading the negotiations for the UK: Theresa May, who did not support the "Leave" campaign, has done a deal hardly anyone approves of. Someone, somewhere, is bound to be preparing to pull the plug on her efforts and, therefore, on her leadership. If there is a general election, there is an enormous chance that the government will change - and although the Labour Party has said that it will honour the will of the people in the referendum, there is growing pressure there for a second referendum not on the terms but on the principle of withdrawal. Even if there is no such action, the fact that there will be a socialist government negotiating with a broadly left leaning EU will mean a deal will be a very different shape to that proposed by May.

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