Countdown to Brexit: What will happen in a divided UK?
Dialogue with Yang Rui
With less than a month until the UK is due to leave the European Union, UK Prime Minister Theresa May postponed the so-called meaningful vote on the Brexit deal until March 12, because her team had further negotiations in Brussels to secure assurances that will satisfy a majority in parliament.
William Spiers, chairman of Spearhead China, compared the parliament to a football team that needs the delay of the vote for training. Unfortunately, May has difficulty training her team because they don't listen to her.
Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, agreed with Spiers and added that although negotiations in Brussels give people hope that the two sides are still having discussions, the problem is how May can find a solution to satisfy the majority of the parliament.
In addition to the divided parliament, Spiers pointed out that the general public in the UK is split on everything. Some people want the delay so they can negotiate a better deal, some people want no Brexit, some people want a Brexit now.
"There's no consensus of opinion that's happy for everyone," Spiers told CGTN.
Spiers thinks it's more likely to have some deal as long as May gets the appropriate wording in the appendix from the European Commission since the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) has softened its approach. But there might be resistance from other European countries such as France and Germany.
"But there has been compromise. Europe needs the money from the UK, the UK needs to honor its commitment to the public to exit," concluded Spiers. "The big problem is we don't have unity in the UK at the moment, which is a quite embarrassing situation," Spiers told CGTN.
Speaking of lack of unity, Cui thinks it can be traced back to the origin of Brexit, which is the referendum. It has created negative effects, the so-called "over democracy." And now it has evolved into a struggle in the parliament, which involves party differences, internal differences and politicians' individual considerations.
Cui stated that the big dilemma now is that no one or no party can find out the real definition of "national interests" for the UK.
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