Brexit: The Rubik’s Cube of British Politics

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks outside Downing Street in London, England, July 24, 2019. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)Parliament wants to halt Brexit, but a no-deal Brexit may be unstoppable. Or not.

For most of the last two years, the conventional wisdom on Brexit has been that a no-deal Brexit was impossible because it was certain to be blocked by a Remain-majority House of Commons. For the last few months, however — roughly since it became clear that Boris Johnson was about to be elected Tory leader and prime minister — the conventional wisdom has changed to the view that a no-deal Brexit is now unstoppable.

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In both cases, the conventional wisdom was and is wrong. The best approximation to the truth is that both these outcomes are possible but that there are large obstacles in the way of either: A no-deal Brexit is at risk because a majority of MPs want to block it at all costs; the blocking of a no-deal Brexit is at least as difficult because MPs earlier voted by a huge majority to legislate an automatic no deal if Parliament couldn’t agree on a deal, and now there is no apparent majority

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