Brexit vote: ‘Are we witnessing Britain’s biggest political crisis of modern times? Absolutely yes.’

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Are we witnessing britain’s biggest political crisis of modern times absolutely yes i was sitting in the press gallery at the house of commons and it was perhaps the most astonishing thing i’ve ever seen in parliament the eyes to the right 202 the nose to the left 432 we all knew theresa may was going to lose and we all thought she was probably going to lose pretty

Big but the actual margin of 230 votes was astonishing but it fundamentally means is that on her signature policy on the thing that syriza mayor has been working on for more than two years the most important issue facing british politics she could not even command a third of the elected mps she’s already survived one sort of confidence vote when tory mps tried to

Top of her at the end of last year so just think about what this means if she wins the confidence vote as we expect her own party can’t get rid of her under their rules until december parliament can’t get rid of her because there isn’t a majority to do so and she can’t deliver on the most important piece of legislation in modern british history so assuming that she

Does win her confidence vote what happens next the prime minister will almost certainly stop talking again to european leaders to see if she can bring out a few more concessions over the irish backstop the issue which has turned so many against her deal she’s promised to start consultations with senior parliamentarians there interestingly not leaders of the main

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Parties to see if she can forge a new consensus the kind of people who she thinks might support her deal with just a few tweaks on the other hand she’s also said that she’s not prepared to cross many of the red lines that she set up in the first place so she doesn’t look like a prime minister who actually really wants to compromise on her own deal she looks more

Like a prime minister who’s trying to keep control of this process and set all of the terms of debate her hope it would seem as it would have been if she’d only lost by a small margin is to run down the clock and see if she can terrify remain minded mps into voting for her deal in the end but uh you may say she specifically said she wouldn’t try to do that well the

Prime minister specifically said quite a lot of things over the years which turned out to be not exactly what she had in mind the group who probably feeling the most bullish immediately after the prime minister’s defeats are her own tory british hardliners nearly 120 of them voted against from many of them are very happy to see a no deal brexit they’d like to run

Down the clock on negotiations and exit without a deal on march 29th others think that if they take a tough line but the eu will eventually blink but they should probably keep the champagne on ice because this could be the high-water mark of what they are going to achieve there is a majority in parliament for a softer brexit the problem is that majority has been

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Unable to coalesce around any one measure but parliamentarians are taking steps to see if they can force the issue and there’s always in the background the possibility of a second referendum if that majority against no deal finds no other way to express itself of course part of mrs. mays problem is that the more she deviates in one way or another the more enemies

She’ll make on one side or another labour has the right to keep calling confidence votes if it senses that it can bring the government down and force a general election and of course doing so allows jeremy corbyn not to set a particular brick stick policy and own whatever happens in the future so what has actually changed as a result of this vote well everything

Are nothing in a way all the sides are still going to pursue the strategies they were pursuing before the prime minister is still going to push to get a version of her deals through the hard break sisters are still going to fight for a no deal and try to run down the clock and the prime minister’s certainly wary of splitting her own party by defying them too much

The soft break stirs and remain errs are still trying to find a way to coalesce around a different position the only thing that i think may fundamentally have changed is that parliament has taken a decisive step towards trying to take back control of this process the question is whether having taken back control they can do anything useful with it

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Transcribed from video
Brexit vote: 'Are we witnessing Britain's biggest political crisis of modern times? Absolutely yes.' By Financial Times

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