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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers' Questions session, at parliament in London, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. May has confirmed there will be a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party, in Parliament Wednesday evening, with the result expected to be announced soon after.

    ‘May’s Strategic Actions Work in Her Favour, Not in UK Favour’ – Prof

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    A no-deal Brexit will result in a hard border in Ireland, according to the European commission’s official spokesman. Sputnik has discussed the chances of a delayed Brexit with Robert Ackrill, Professor of European Economics and Policy at Nottingham Trent University.

    Sputnik: Delayed Brexit is now touted as the most likely option. How probable is such a scenario?

    Robert Ackrill: It's a very rapidly changing situation. I think there are some people who want a Brexit and they don't care what damage happens, they want to leave on the 29th of March. I think, logically, given that the government is making such preparations for a no-deal Brexit, they appreciate the damage that it would cause. So, I think there's quite a lot of support for an extension to the process beyond the two years of Article 50. The trouble is that we still don't know absolutely how that will actually play out given the divisions and uncertainty that we currently face.

    Sputnik: We've also got Jeremy Corbyn revealing that his party is pushing Mrs May's government to back their deal and allow for a second EU referendum. What chances does the Labour Party have in implementing their plan? I mean they couldn't pass thorough a vote of no confidence; what likelihood do they have in terms of pressurizing the government into a second referendum?

    Robert Ackrill: I think the point you make about not being able to pass a vote of no confidence is a very interesting one because there's no question that the divisions that exist within Parliament are typically no longer along party lines. But if something comes up that threatens a particular party, then you're more likely to get those MPs, if you like, toeing the party line, toeing the party whip. I think the interesting thing for Labour is it's taken until now for Jeremy Corbyn to take this particular viewpoint.

    READ MORE: Former UKIP Leader: May's Credibility in Terms of Brexit Process Is Shredded

    The immediate response to that is a few Labour MPs saying "Hang on. I'm in the Leave constituency; I'm going to lose my seat if we have this".

    Sputnik: We've still got the situation with regard to Theresa May's Plan B as well. Most people commented that it's a crude repackaging of her initial plan. What chances does her backup plan stand now when the vote is held?

    Robert Ackrill: I think one of the interesting things is that, strategically, throughout this entire period Mrs May's played a very poor game; right at the start she set down red lines that were implausible and had to be crossed, she's nailed her colours to the mast of the agreement that was put before Parliament, and after two and a half years her Plan A was roundly rejected by all sides of the political spectrum. And I think you're absolutely right that what we now see is a modest repackaging of Plan A and represents very little change, indeed, where I do think her strategic actions are working in her personal favour.

    And her government, rather than necessarily the country, is getting to the point so close to the 29th of March where voting against her deal would almost be seen as voting against the Conservative Party, which may well shift a lot of those Conservative Party MPs who previously opposed the actual Brexit deal itself, but they would be therefore voting not on the Brexit deal. They'd be kind of biting their tongues and voting effectively almost to support the government regardless of what the Brexit deal is. So, I think, strategically, she has now boxed herself into such a corner that if she to get this…

    Sputnik: Where are we going to be on the 29th of March? Where do you perceive us to be? Are we going to be still in the European Union extending Article 50, or we're going to have left with a no-deal; or are they going to actually come up with some kind of a finalized deal somewhere between the 28th and 29th where they sit down, the EU strategic leaders and the UK government, and actually patch out a deal that can be acceptable, or is that a bridge too far?

    Robert Ackrill: I've been saying for about two years that either Brexit won't happen or it will be a complete crash, leaving without a deal. I can still see with a degree of uncertainty and a degree of disagreement within the governing party that it could go either way. The great problem for me as an economist is that so many questions now are down to basic politics and the personal politics of those who sit in the House of Commons as our representatives.

    READ MORE: Commentator on Brexit: 'We Should Have Been Preparing for No Deal from Day One'

    I would like to hope that we'll still be in the European Union. Regardless of the fact that I'm a pro-Remain, if we are going to have a Brexit then it has to be on terms other, I believe, than a no-deal Brexit. So, being in the EU in the short term, even if the long term is leaving the EU, will be a lot less damaging than leaving without a deal on the 29th of March.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Robert Ackrill and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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