Brexit scenarios: Toward the endgame

British Prime Minister Theresa May answering awkward questions about Brexit in parliament
Prime Minister Theresa May faces an uphill battle to keep Britain's Conservative Party together while avoiding crashing out of the EU without an agreement (source: dpa)
  • Theresa May’s political weakness has all but ruled out a smooth conclusion to Brexit talks
  • A “cliff edge” scenario with no Brexit agreement reached is now plausible
  • Prolongation of talks or an open-ended transition seems more and more likely

British Prime Minister Theresa May has finally bowed to economic reality and imposed on her fractious cabinet a Brexit model that would keep the United Kingdom close to the European Union. Her decision provoked the resignations of David Davis, the minister in charge of the Brexit negotiations, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who denounced it as a “semi-Brexit” that betrayed those who voted to leave in the June 2016 referendum.

Ms. May’s hold on power is precarious and other resignations might follow. She could face a leadership challenge within the Conservative Party, but for now, the numbers in parliament are lacking for a vote of no confidence. Her trump card against insurgent Brexiters is fear that her overthrow would bring a Labour cabinet to power with Jeremy Corbyn at its head.

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