Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Sonning, Britain, March 31, 2019.

SIMON DAWSON/Reuters

Britain’s exit from the European Union was in disarray after the implosion of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy left her under pressure from rival factions to leave without a deal, go for an election or forge a much softer divorce.

After one of the most tumultuous weeks in British politics since the 2016 referendum, it was still uncertain how, when or even if the United Kingdom will ever leave the bloc it first joined 46 years ago.

A third defeat of Ms. May’s divorce deal, after her pledge to quit if it was passed, left one of the weakest leaders in a generation grappling with a perilous crisis over Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant move since the Second World War.

Story continues below advertisement

Parliament will vote on different Brexit options on Monday and then Ms. May could try one last roll of the dice by bringing her deal back to a vote in Parliament as soon as Tuesday.

“There are no ideal choices available and there are very good arguments against any possible outcome at the moment but we are going to have to do something,” said Justice Secretary David Gauke, who voted in the 2016 referendum to stay in the EU.

“The Prime Minister is reflecting on what the options are, and is considering what may happen but I don’t think any decisions have been made,” he told BBC-TV.

Many in Ms. May’s party, though, have lost patience. The Sun newspaper reported that 170 of her 314 Conservative lawmakers had sent her a letter demanding that Brexit take place in the next few months – deal or no deal.

The United Kingdom was due to leave the EU on March 29 but the political deadlock in London forced May to ask the bloc for a delay. Currently, Brexit is due to take place on April 12 unless Ms. May comes up with another option.

The labyrinthine Brexit crisis has left the United Kingdom divided: Supporters of both Brexit and EU membership marched through London last week. Many on both sides feel betrayed by a political elite that has failed to show leadership.

Parliament is due to vote Monday on a range of alternative Brexit options selected by Speaker John Bercow from nine proposals put forward by lawmakers, including a no-deal exit, preventing a no-deal exit, a customs union, or a second referendum.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are clearly going to have to consider very carefully the will of Parliament,” Mr. Gauke said.

With no majority yet in the House of Commons for any of the Brexit options, there was speculation that an election could be called, though such a vote would be unpredictable and it is unclear who would lead the Conservatives into it.

The Sunday Times said Ms. May’s media chief, Robbie Gibb, and political aide Stephen Parkinson were pushing for an election against the will of her chief enforcer in Parliament, Julian Smith.

The Conservative Party’s deputy chair, James Cleverly, said the party was not planning for an election. But the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, Tom Watson, said his party was on election footing.

Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, said it could try to call a vote of no confidence in Ms. May’s government.

“We don’t know if she is going to remain Prime Minister, if we are going to get somebody else, who that other person is going to be -- it is a mess,” Ms. Thornberry said.

Story continues below advertisement

Opponents of Brexit fear it will make Britain poorer and divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

Supporters of Brexit say that, while the divorce might bring some short-term instability, in the longer term it will allow the United Kingdom to thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed experiment in European unity.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies