Contrary to initial plans, Great Britain will not leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. The withdrawal agreement negotiated between the UK and the EU has already twice been rejected by the British Parliament. The House of Commons has now taken a new approach to test whether an alternative solution would gain majority support, while British Prime Minister Theresa May has offered to resign. Professor Achim Wambach, president of the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research comments on the current state of the Brexit process.

Achim Wambach comments on the current course of the Brexit
Professor Achim Wambach, president of the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim.

“The struggling over Brexit in London enters a new round. Theresa May has pledged that she would resign if her Brexit deal passes. Yesterday evening, however, the House of Commons voted against all alternative Brexit options. It is difficult to interpret the results of the vote. As illustrated in the impossibility theorem of the Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow, the results of a majority vote do not necessarily have to meet the criterion of inner consistency. In addition, the British government failed to integrate the opposition parties into the debate when the negotiations started. Partisan considerations have therefore strongly influenced this series of indicative votes.

If the number of votes are used as an indicator, the option of a hard, no-deal Brexit seems to be off the table. With 400 ‘no’ and 160 ‘yes’ votes, this option was rejected by great majority. By announcing her resignation, Theresa May has managed to win the support of some Brexiteers, who are now in favour of her Brexit deal. She has, however, not yet won majority support. The next few days will show whether she will succeed in winning the backing of more MPs. There are therefore clear signs that the Brexit drama is entering its final act.“





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