Brexit paralysed. Your country needs YOU

Making history: In June 2016, the Leave campaign won by 1,269,501 votes.

Theresa May has survived. So British politics continues to go round in circles. As the clock ticks, all are agreed on one thing: we need a breakthrough. Time for the future of the nation to speak up!

She has done it again. Theresa May’s government clung to power last night by 19 votes, thanks to the very MPs who inflicted a humiliating defeat on her just 24 hours previously.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons torpedoed May’s Brexit deal, handing her government the biggest loss in parliamentary history.

Faced with such a weakened opponent, Jeremy Corbyn was duty-bound to call a vote of no confidence in the government. But success was unlikely.

Hard-line Brexiteers, Tory Remainers and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) may loathe the prime minister’s Brexit plan, but not enough to risk handing Corbyn his sought-after general election and a possible route to Downing Street.

Parliament is now in complete paralysis. Last night, May made a brief public statement outside Downing Street. She said cross-party talks with other party leaders had already started. Corbyn, however, says he will not participate until May rules out a no-deal Brexit.

Among the mess, there is a silver lining for May: yesterday’s result puts huge pressure on Corbyn. Yesterday, 71 Labour MPs demanded their leader back a second referendum.

Labour’s official policy is to seek a general election and, if that fails, to consider supporting a second vote. That scenario is now unfolding. If he backs away from his promise to listen to Labour members, Corbyn risks enraging the 72% of them who want a second referendum.

If such a vote were to happen, senior politicians say there is a real chance that unrest, even riots, could break out among Leave voters who feel betrayed by democracy.

Would the result be different? One thing has changed: since June 2016, 1.75 million young people turned 18. According to YouGov, demographic changes alone will wipe out the Leave vote’s majority by this Saturday.

So today, we are launching our own UK poll. We are calling on you, teachers and students, to encourage anyone to take part who would be voting for the first time if there is a second referendum.

Voting will be open until midday on Monday. We will publish the result widely and, if enough of you take part, we will deliver your verdict in a letter to Theresa May on Tuesday.

Have your say

For some, the stalemate we find ourselves in is proof that Brexit is impossible. The only concrete options are a deal that is almost universally hated or a chaotic no-deal exit. Now that reality is clear, perhaps we deserve a fresh chance to decide.

But can it be democratic for politicians to go against a decisive vote? Many will feel betrayed and ignored. There is a real chance of public disorder. Why would a second vote solve this mess any more than the first?

You Decide

  1. Were MPs right to reject Theresa May’s deal?
  2. Should Labour campaign for a second referendum?

Activities

  1. In small groups, discuss whether a second referendum is a good or bad idea. Would the result change? Would it cause unrest? Feed your answers back to the class.
  2. If you were not eligible to vote in the 2016 referendum but have since turned 18, have your say in The Day’s poll. We want to find out whether you would vote Leave or Remain in the event of a second referendum.

Some People Say...

“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party cannot procrastinate any longer. Either he backs Brexit or he backs the people.”

Vince Cable

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Last night, Theresa May defeated the motion of no confidence in her government by 325 votes to 306. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the vote of no confidence after May’s Brexit deal was decimated in the House of Commons, with MPs voting against it by a majority of 230. May will now seek to hold cross-party talks and return to Brussels in the hope of breathing life back into her deal.
What do we not know?
We are not really any closer to knowing what will happen when the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, or whether it even will. Many MPs are suggesting that Article 50 should be extended in order to allow time for a new deal to be negotiated with the EU, or for a second referendum.

Word Watch

Vote of no confidence
This is different to the vote of no confidence May faced in December, which was an internal Conservative Party vote on whether she should stay as party leader.
DUP
The DUP, a Northern Irish unionist party that May relies on for her majority in Parliament, opposes May’s Brexit deal because it fears extra customs checks could drive a wedge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
No-deal Brexit
In the past weeks, the House of Commons passed several amendments that succeeded in showing that most MPs are opposed to no-deal. However, a no-deal exit will happen by default if no other arrangement has been approved before March 29.
1.75 million
This number is based on the figure that there are 700,00 eligible new voters each year, and that the Brexit referendum was 2.5 years ago.
Demographic changes
Polls show that young people overwhelmingly favour Remain. YouGov found that if no one who voted in 2016 changed their mind, the proportion of Leave voters who have died and Remain voters who have turned 18 would change the result of a second referendum to Remain. They calculated the crossover point would be on January 19, 2019.