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'It's Perfectly Clear' How UK PM Can Try to Win Brexit Deal Argument - Professor

© REUTERS / Parbul TVA still image from a video footage shows Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, in central London, Britain November 14, 2018
A still image from a video footage shows Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, in central London, Britain November 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
Theresa May will hold her first cabinet meeting today since the resignations of leading ministers last week. Can she still force her Brexit deal through Parliament despite DUP pressure?

Sputnik spoke with Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde for more insight on the issue.

Sputnik: Now that the DUP is putting pressure on Theresa May; do you think that MPs will vote her Brexit deal down next month?

Sir John Curtice: Well, certainly it looks at the moment that the government is going to find it extremely difficult to win the so called meaningful vote when it comes to the Commons next month.

Mrs May’s problem is not just simply that it now looks like all ten DUP MPs are minded to vote against it, but that there will be a substantial amount of rebels on her own side. From both those who would prefer the UK to remain inside the EU, as well as some of those so called Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg who want a much harder break with the EU, than the draft agreement seems to envisage.

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Given that this is a government without a majority in the first place and the lack of support from its own side and the party that’s supposed to be supporting it; it’s very difficult to see at the moment how the Prime Minister can win the argument.

It’s perfectly clear how she’s going to try and do it and that’s by trying to argue that business think this is better and that they wish to avoid the uncertainty and chaos that they fear will arise if the deal is voted down, and that therefore it is best economically for the UK’s interests.

Whether that’s going to be enough to persuade enough people is by no means clear at the moment.

Sputnik: Would a no-deal Brexit be as bad as people say?

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Sir John Curtice: This is clearly a subject of some considerable dispute. I think however what one should note; is that the rhetoric of government ministers on this subject does seem to have changed.

If you remember way back in her Lancaster House speech in January of last year; Theresa May said that no deal is better than a bad deal. This morning for example I heard government ministers saying that the great advantage of this deal is that it will avoid the damage that no deal would bring about.

It seems pretty clear that the government at least has come to the conclusion that no deal, is something that’s to be avoided and that for example; there certainly have been doubts raised about the consequences in particular of the fact that, in the event of no deal, there would presumable have to be customs checks straight away between Dover and Calais, and I’d argue that neither Dover nor Calais are in a position to cope with this, and that the possible consequences in terms of the supply of food and medicines into the UK, are perhaps ones that the government would not wish to contemplate.

Certainly in the absence of side deals to a no deal; things that would deal with customs in the short run, and flights being allowed to cross, one could certainly see why the UK government would wish to avoid such an outcome if at all possible.

Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Sir John Curtice and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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