00:51 GMT02 April 2020
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    On 27 March, UK lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on an alternative to the Theresa May-proposed Brexit deal by vehemently rejecting eight options designed to break the deadlock. Speaking to Sputnik, ex-MEP Nick Griffin and Professor Mark Garnett shed light on the prospects of the deal and the potential resignation of Prime Minister May.

    "I've been convinced from the very start that the UK elite would steal Brexit from us", Nick Griffin, a former member of the European Parliament, told Sputnik. "Now though, I'm no longer certain of that; they will if they could, but I think there's a chance that the EU itself may refuse to extend Article 50 and so spark a No Deal Brexit".

    According to Griffin, in case the UK remains in the EU, Brussels would have to embrace up to "55 of Britain's MEPs being on the right and thus potentially tipping the balance and ending the liberal-left domination of the EU Parliament".

    "The Euro-left are frantic with worry about the chance of losing control, so [are] saying 'the British people voted to leave. Their Parliament has failed to sort out a deal, but we have to obey our regulations and we have to respect the will of the British electorate, so there can be no extension of Article 50 and Britain must leave'", he suggested.

    On 27 March British lawmakers voted not to support any of the options, which included a customs union with the European Union and a referendum on any deal. British lawmakers also voted against a no-deal withdrawal from the bloc on 12 April.

    Previously, in an apparent attempt to save the deal, the British prime minister announced that she would resign if her plan was delivered

    The Clock on May's Leadership is Fast Approaching Midnight

    Mark Garnett, a politics professor at Lancaster University and author of the book "From Anger to Apathy: The British Experience", opined that "the clock on Mrs May's prime ministership is fast approaching midnight", but admitted that "last night makes it less likely that she will resign in the near future".

    "Once a politician announces a date of their departure or at least gives some kind of idea of an imminent departure, their authority vanishes completely", the professor explained.

    According to him, the only thing that is keeping May in office is "the lack of any obvious successor".

    "I think now the Conservative Party will be thinking even more seriously than before about the way to get a successor without damaging the party too much", Garnett opined.

    The professor believes that May's resignation can become a real game changer not only for Brexit, but for the Conservative Party in general.

    According to the academic, the right-wing European research group, which cannot forgive May for having supported the Remain campaign, is seeking to replace the present prime minister with a hard-line Brexiteer.

    "Her departure gives them an excuse to vote for her withdrawal bill", he explained. "They are thinking that their hopes are being helped".

    The problem is that the public is leaning towards a "softer Brexit", he highlighted. "So you've got a party which is charging off in one direction and the public, if it's moving at all, is moving in the other".

    The professor noted that it is very difficult to see how the Conservative Party "can get through this period without what could be fatal damage".

    Three Possible Types of Candidates to Replace May

    However, if Theresa May does resign, the British government will have three possible types of contender, according to Garnett: first, "you've got the hard line Brexiteer who has been all the way through, somebody a bit like Jacob Rees-Mogg or Boris Johnson"; second, "you could have another compromise candidate, [someone] like Theresa May, and there are people who would present that kind of image".

    "The third possibility would be somebody like Amber Rudd who is a Cabinet member at the moment, former home secretary, who is quite clearly, although [she] has accepted the Brexit result, her heart is much more with Remain than Theresa May's ever was", the academic underscored.

    Having said this, Garnett suggested that "the Conservative Party is likely to split whoever their leader is to replace Mrs May", since the party is being preoccupied with internal struggle instead of seeking compromises.

    Commenting on possible flaws in Theresa May's handling the Brexit deal and dragging the country into deadlock, the professor presumed that from the very beginning it was not clear "what kind of exit the people of Britain had narrowly voted for".

    "What Mrs May should have done… she should have tried to build some kind of consensus before she established her negotiating position", the academic concluded.

    Previously, Brussels agreed to extend Article 50 delaying Brexit until 22 May. If British lawmakers choose not to back the agreement, the deadline will be extended only until 12 April. Following the Parliament's failure to reach common ground on eight options, a second stage of debate and voting is due to take place on 1 April. It is expected that British MPs will consider a reduced shortlist of options.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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

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    conservative, Brexit, Brexit Plan, UK Parlaiment, Conservative Party, European Union, Theresa May, Europe, United Kingdom
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