This Tuesday, Theresa May proposed what will likely be her final attempt to create a deal surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union. In her ten point strategy, May reiterates many of the same promises and plans in her old Brexit deal- the same one that had already been firmly rejected by Parliament- with a few additions. Two key differences: May puts the possibility of a second public referendum on the table and leaves the choice surrounding the United Kingdom’s customs relationship with the European Union up to Parliament. To sweeten the deal, May packaged legislation regarding workers’ rights, environmental protections, and a temporary customs relationship with the European Union into her proposal.
Almost as soon as May finished her speech introducing the deal, she began to face backlash from opposing parties as well as her own. With critics calling her “new” proposal a repackaging of her unpopular old attempt at a deal, this deal seems even less likely than previous ones to make it through the deeply fractured parliament. Even those in support of a second referendum are skeptical. Responding to May’s speech, Margaret Beckett MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote, said that “rejecting this hotchpotch offer will show once and for all, there is no stable majority for any form of Brexit without handing the decision back to the people.”
May also promised to plan a new exit timeline after the vote. This time, her own from the political scene. She is likely to be succeeded by Boris Johnson, who has publicly announced his willingness to leave the European Union without a deal. Due to the unlikeliness of May’s recent deal to pass, American investment bank J.P. Morgan has since raised its probability of Britain leaving the E.U. without a deal from 10%, from 15% to 25% based on the likelihood of Johnson’s election into the office without a preexisting deal already in place. In wake of this uncertainty, the pound weakened 0.3% in early Wednesday morning trading.
With May’s departure without a deal almost ascertained, there is significant uncertainty surrounding what will happen next. May’s recent proposal legitimizes the addition of a second referendum to the options Parliament has to create a deal or leave in a no deal Brexit. No matter what it chooses to pursue, time is running out. If the United Kingdom wants to leave the United Kingdom with any sort deal in place, it has only a little over 4 months to elect a new prime minister, create a deal, and get approval from both the European Union and a divided parliament before the October 31 deadline by which the U.K. must leave the European Union.