Brexit: State of Play

Brexit: State of Play

If Brexit goes ahead, the Scottish Nationalist Party under Nicola Sturgeon will seek another referendum before the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary Elections. Sturgeon suggested that the case for independence is “even stronger now”, given the “profound changes” that have occurred since 2014.

Brexit has been a political gift to the SNP.  62 percent of Scots rejected it, in every single region – the most resounding Remain vote of the UK’s four nations. A year after the party’s barnstorming performance in the 2015 General Election, the referendum result gave the SNP a clear mandate: oppose Brexit at all costs. If Sturgeon does decide to hold another vote, victory for the independence camp is quite likely. Complaints that she is using Brexit as an excuse to re-run the 2014 poll have quietened now that the Brexit process has become such an excruciating international embarrassment.

The 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs have asked Theresa May to set out a “schedule and timetable” for her departure in all circumstances. May has already promised to quit if MPs pass the withdrawal agreement, but now senior Tories want a timetable for her departure if the Brexit deadlock continues. Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee chairman, set out his committee’s latest demand as he confirmed that it was rejecting calls for the rules to be changed to allow an early no confidence vote in May. Under current rules MPs cannot trigger a new no confidence ballot until December, 12 months after the last one, but some Tories wanted this rule changed to allow a challenge much sooner.

The introduction of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party ahead of the European Elections in the UK had an immediate impact in the polls. One YouGov poll put the Brexit Party at 27 percent, while another conducted by ComRes around the same dates had the party on 17 percent. According to the YouGov survey, The Brexit Party is five percentage points ahead of Labour’s 22 percent, followed by the Conservatives on 15 percent and then the Green Party on 10 percent. The outcome suggested by the YouGov poll would  have a major implications for the political groupings in the European Parliament, leading to another increase in the already substantial number of Euroskeptics that are expected to be elected.