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    Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside Parliament as British PM Theresa May was attending Prime Minister's questions in London, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018

    'Far Too Late': UK Should Have Launched Bipartisan Brexit Talks in 2017 - Prof

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    With Jeremy Corbyn turning down the invitation to discuss the failed bill, Brexit seems to be an at an impasse, with Theresa May determined to find a way for her bill to work and the EU determined to offer no further concessions. What can we expect for plan B?

    Sputnik has discussed the issue with Alastair Jones, an Associate Professor from De Monfort University.

    Sputnik: How do you believe Theresa May and the Cabinet are dealing with the results from the past few days?

    Alastair Jones: I think the cabinet are shell shocked to put it politely.

    They were expecting to lose the votes. But the extent of the defeat was far greater than they were anticipating the only crumb of consolation was that she won the vote of no confidence with the DUP staying on board with them.

    So the argument now is how do we go forward? I think the cabinet are trying to find the appropriate way forward that can get through Parliament. And I think one of the interesting things is going to be from a cabinet member is whether or not 'No Deal' Brexit remains on the table or whether it's taken off the table.

    If it's taken off the table, they can start talking with Jeremy Corbyn.

    The problem is they don't really want to talk with Jeremy Corbyn. Therefore no deal is going to stay on the table for as long as possible. So they're involved in a juggling act in many respects of how do you keep your own MPs happy, but try to get supporters from other parties to back their position, whatever that may change to be come next Monday.

    Sputnik: What do you think the next steps will be for the government considering how badly the Brexit Bill was defeated in the House of Commons?

    Alastair Jones: I would be advising them to take know do Brexit off the table, because that is the biggest stumbling block if they can take 'No Deal' off the table.

    They can immediately start speaking with the Labour Party in particular, but also more fully with the other parties. The next question is which red lines of Theresa May's possibly should be removed? So does staying in a customs union, which is what Labour have argued for, does that come back onto the table or not?

    Now at the moment, Theresa May, his position is that all her red lines are staying firm. I think if I was a cabinet member, I would be suggesting, and no more than suggesting, that that position for all of the red lines might need to be reviewed. And it may be that some leeway may have to be given.

    Now the downside of that the risk in that is if the red line for Customs Union is removed, the hard Brexit isn't the Conservative Party are going to vote anything down that we put forward.

    So it's a balancing act as do the cabinet look to try to get cross party support to get the legislation through and at the same time upset many of their own MPs. And for my Cabinet members perspective, that is the thing that I will be wanting to be debated to work out what the best way forward would be.

    Sputnik: Do you believe that Theresa May’s bipartisan Brexit negotiations will be successful in getting the bill through the Parliament?

    Alastair Jones: They've come far too late. These bipartisan the talks should have been initiated immediately after the debacle of the 2017 general election.

    You could actually argue that such talks should have been initiated immediately after the referendum result what the Conservative government is trying to do is railroad their own version of things through by losing, or failing to win, the 2017 general election they left themselves huge isolated and the fact that Theresa May was more willing to cower in many respects to what her hard Brexiteers wanted made her position very difficult to support from any other party bar the DUP.

    So she should have been speaking to others. But the problem about that one is then the members in our own party would have been upset. Theresa May need to have been doing that from stage one doing it now is far too little and far too late.

    Sputnik: What do you expect to be announced on Monday as May’s Plan B?

    Alastair Jones: I suspect that plan B on Monday will, as things out the minute, be little more than 'Plan A' with a few very, very minor tweaking unless she is going to go for wholesale change. Her track record as a government minister and as Prime Minister is not to go for wholesale change. So I'm expecting Plan B to be remarkably similar to Plan A and I suspect that they'll get thrown out by the House of Commons again.

    Then we will be into uncharted territory even more than we are now what will be interesting is what amendments to her legislation proposed in Parliament and which ones are debated and voted on.

    One possible amendment to her legislation could be to say we cannot have a No Deal Brexit. Another amendment could be that we put whatever the final decision is to a national referendum. If amendments like other being debated in voted on Theresa May's position becomes even more difficult than it was before.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Alastair Jones and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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