Article Source: The Engineer

With a second vote on the withdrawal agreement due to take place this week, we’re asking our readers how they think the Brexit process will turn out?

What direction is Brexit heading?
Leave with a deal
Leave with no deal
Remain in the EU
None of the above

The last Brexit poll we had came in mid-December just before Theresa May pulled the first vote on her withdrawal agreement. Much has happened since then, yet little has changed. When parliament did finally get to vote on May’s deal in the new year, it received a resounding thumbs down with a majority of two to one. But the PM believes the issue has not been settled and further votes will be put to the Commons in an attempt to force an agreement and avoid a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

For supporters of a second referendum, the irony of May pushing multiple parliamentary votes on the same issue has not been lost. And while the deal in its original form may indeed be dead, Conservative MPs have been formulating amendments to the withdrawal agreement in an attempt to win enough support for it to pass. These have largely centred around the removal of the Northern Irish backstop, something which UK negotiators played a key role in devising more than a year ago, but which has recently become the key sticking point for Eurosceptic MPs.

The EU has stated repeatedly that the withdrawal agreement cannot be reopened and that the backstop must remain in place, it being the only way to guarantee no hard border on the island of Ireland, which is a stated red line both for the UK and the EU. Theresa May has indicated, however, that she will encourage Tory MPs to vote for the removal of the backstop that she herself negotiated and agreed with the EU. These are strange times indeed.

So where does it all leave us? The only thing parliament has indicated majority support for is the prevention of ‘no-deal’, yet this is the default position on March 29th unless something can be agreed. Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s amendment could force the government to request an extension to Article 50 if no agreement has been reached by late March. It is not clear, however, if this amendment will be fully backed by the Labour leadership or command the support of the Commons. Last month our readers felt that remaining in the EU was the most likely outcome, closely followed by ‘no deal’. We’re interested to see if the needle has shifted in response to events in 2019. On the back of the PM seeing off the vote of no confidence, we’ve also simplified the options to the three most likely outcomes, plus none of the above.

As ever, we recognise that this is a highly contentious topic. We ask our readers to keep their comments civil and respectful below the line. The Engineer’s comment guidelines can be found here.

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