• Yet Another Crisis Day in Britain's Brexit Saga

    There is uncertainty everywhere. In the Northern Irish city of Londonderry, police carried out a controlled explosion of a hijacked van and evacuated houses in the Creggan area less than forty-eight hours after a bomb exploded outside the city’s courthouse—luckily, with no casualties.

    Parliamentary exchanges on January 21 were spattered with references to the courthouse bomb and to the vexed issue of the Irish backstop, the mechanism agreed by the United Kingdom and the European Union to ensure that the current frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic—a key ingredient of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that ended thirty years of violence in Northern Ireland—will remain in place after the UK leaves the EU.

    Read More
  • May Survives Confidence Vote, But Now Must Deliver a New Brexit Plan

    British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in her government on January 16, but now has until January 21 to come up with a new plan for Brexit.

    The continuation of May’s government was threatened by a no-confidence vote triggered by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after May’s draft withdrawal agreement on leaving the EU was defeated in Parliament by 432 to 202 votes. The no-confidence vote failed by nineteen votes, 306 to 325.

    Read More
  • Lessons in Leadership: Theresa May and Brexit

    On January 16, British Prime Minister Theresa May won the day against a motion of no confidence in her government by nineteen votes after losing a vote on her Brexit withdrawal agreement the day before by 230 votes, the largest proportion of MPs voting against a government motion ever recorded in the entire history of the British Parliament. In December 2018, she won a vote of no confidence within her own parliamentary party (the Conservative Party), which cannot be renewed for a year. She is, therefore, now politically unassailable both as prime minister and as leader of the Conservative Party.

    But even if she has retained formal “confidence” she has lost the faith of the people and of Parliament to lead the country, not only but especially in the Brexit negotiations.

    Read More
  • May's Brexit Deal Stumbles in Parliament. Now She is Fighting to Save Her Government.

    A little over two months remain until the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union (EU) and yet the manner of Britain’s exit seems more unclear than at any time since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    The UK Parliament on January 15 rejected by a vote of 432 to 202 the Withdrawal Agreement British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU.

    Read More
  • The Brexit Uncertainty that Worries Ireland

    DUBLIN — What does breastmilk have to do with Brexit? If you’re in Ireland, it’s an unexpectedly symbolic illustration of past and prospectively future divisions within the island of Ireland – and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

    The South West Acute Hospital at Enniskillen, in the British province of Northern Ireland, hosts the only bank of breast milk for neonatal units both in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

    Read More
  • May's Brexit Deal Faces Another Test. What If It Fails?

    British members of Parliament will finally get a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated deal with the European Union setting the terms for Brexit. British government officials announced on January 7 that a vote on the deal would occur on January 15, after a similar vote was cancelled on December 11 as the government feared it did not have the votes to pass the deal.

    Read More
  • Here’s What Brexit Would Mean for the Transatlantic Relationship

    Britain’s North American friends could be forgiven if they are finding it hard to keep up with the twists and turns of the Brexit saga, and to work out where it will all end. Most of us here in Britain are in the same boat. Extraordinary to say, we are now three months away from the date set in law for Britain to leave the European Union, and there is no sign of a majority in Parliament either for the deal the prime minister has negotiated with Brussels, or for crashing out with no deal on March 29, 2019, or for anything else.

    Read More
  • May Survives Confidence Vote, Brexit Faces an Uncertain Future

    British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a dramatic challenge to her leadership during a Conservative Party vote on December 12, but she still must find a way to pass the Brexit agreement she negotiated with the European Union through a skeptical Parliament.

    Serious concerns about how to keep the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland open—and the possibility that the United Kingdom may need to remain in the EU’s customs union to achieve that—means that right now “we don’t have a deal which has a chance of passing the UK Parliament,” Peter Westmacott, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former UK ambassador to the United States, said in a call hosted by the Council on December 12.

    Read More
  • Don't Be Fooled, Parliament is Still in Control in Britain

    Britain appears to be consumed by the chaos of its complex negotiations in the wake of its 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union. But if the government is floundering, then parliamentary democracy and accountability are flourishing.

    There is a vibrancy in the way in which Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly come before the House of Commons to deliver statements and face tough interrogation, often from members of her own Conservative Party. There are the intense discussions amongst parliamentarians on what course of action should be taken if, as it is generally assumed, the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement with the EU is rejected in a key vote scheduled for December 11. And while Brexit dominates headlines, Parliament’s power, as well as its influence, was demonstrated most unusually a few days ago when a US businessman was escorted to Parliament and...

    Read More
  • Trump is Correct, May's Brexit Deal Would Make a US-UK Trade Agreement Highly Unlikely

    US President Donald J. Trump has cast doubt on the possibility of completing a US-UK free trade agreement under the terms of the Brexit deal British Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the European Union.

    “I think we have to take a look at, seriously, whether or not the UK is allowed to trade, because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they [the UK] may not be able to trade with us,” Trump told reporters on November 26.

    May rejected Trump’s characterization, saying: “We will have the ability, outside the European Union, to make those decisions on trade policy for ourselves. It will no longer be a decision being taken by Brussels.”


    Read More