When British Prime Minister David Cameron announced there would be a Referendum asking the British Electorate to choose whether to remain in or leave the European Union, no one could have envisaged the dramatic consequences that would ensue as a result of the vote being in favour of leaving an Institution that had, for 45 Years, shaped the lives of British Citizens, not only those resident in the UK, but also others living and working elsewhere throughout the World.
It could be argued that those resident in the UK are not as seriously affected by the decision to leave the EU as those either resident or working outside of the UK. Although whilst 'No Deal' remains a possibility there are serious concerns for UK residents, regarding medicinal supplies, the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from within the EU. and more seriously “just in time” deliveries from Europe, for the Automotive and Avionic Industries, which could result in job losses and possible company relocations to elsewhere in Europe.
British Citizens either, working, studying or living in the EU, have different problems dependent on whether the UK leaves the EU with a “Deal” in which case very little will change, or with “No Deal”, when it could be necessary for workers to obtain residence permits and students could find that some of the education they had been receiving for free would now need paying for.
The EU Negotiating Team and the British Government have produced what the British Prime Minister believes is a 'Good Deal', for both the UK and for the EU. However, due to difficulties with the agreement satisfactorily addressing the problems created by a border between Northern Ireland (British) and Ireland (EU) it stands little or no chance of being approved by the British Parliament when the vote takes place on the evening of Tuesday January 15th.
The British Government are frantically working with the EU on a solution which they hope will satisfy enough members of Parliament and encourage them to vote in favour of the 'Deal'. But if the agreement is then voted down, the Government has 3 Working Days to return with other options and a further vote will take place.
If the vote goes against the Government’s 'Deal' there is a good chance that the Parliament will force a vote of no confidence in the Government in the hope of winning and forcing the country into a general election
This procedure could be repeated until the Government gets the result it requires. Failure to agree to a 'Deal', in theory, would result in the default 'No Deal' situation which would be disastrous for both the UK and the EU.
It has to be said that there is no will by members of Parliament for this outcome, likewise there is no will for a deal that is detrimental to the future of the United Kingdom.
This being the case it would appear that the British Government are unable to achieve a solution to what has developed into an impossible task.
What happens next?
If the vote goes against the Government’s 'Deal' there is a good chance that the leader of the opposition party in Parliament will force a vote of no confidence in the Government in the hope of winning the vote and forcing the country into a general election.
If this occurs the withdrawal date 29th March 2019 could be delayed. It could also be delayed if the Government feel they cannot solve the impasse and decide to return the decision to the British Electorate and hold another referendum, in which case we can start all over again.
*Keith Jeffrey is a Business Development Manager and the UK Specialist at Autio Partners.