Fellows of the Centre on Constitutional Change respond to the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons and the impending no-confidence vote in the government.
Professor Nicola McEwen, Co-Director of the Centre, said of the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement:
“The government’s defeat in the Commons may have been of epic proportions, but the MPs who voted against it did so for very different reasons. That makes finding an alternative way forward extraordinarily difficult.
“The PM’s strategy appears to be to run down the clock, making a version of her Withdrawal Agreement the only viable alternative to No Deal. That’s unlikely to bring many more MPs on side. Instead, we can expect growing pressure for a shift in direction to prevent the hugely disruptive scenario of leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March.
“A shift in direction might be to allow further negotiations with the EU if a majority can be found for an alternative way ahead. Or, failing that, to facilitate another referendum, or a general election. All of these options would require an extension of the Article 50 deadline. Such an extension would require not just a change of heart by the UK Government, but the unanimous support of the European Council.”
Dr Mary C. Murphy, Jean Monnet Chair at University College Cork speaks to a deepening sense of unease in Ireland about the broader implications of Brexit:
"In my lifetime, I have rarely seen such public interest in Ireland in a Westminster vote. The enormous attention being paid to events in London by Irish citizens gives a sense of the real anxiety which is felt here about Brexit. There is deep concern about what the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement means for the Irish economy and for political stability on the island of Ireland, and there is genuine unease about how the situation can be salvaged and a no deal Brexit avoided"
"The direction of events in Westminster however, heightens the prospect of a no deal Brexit and should that scenario materialise it will mean some form of border on the island of Ireland. There are few certainties these days, but what we do know is that such a development will threaten Irish economic stability, undermine years of political progress, and possibly re-open recently settled arguments about the constitutional futures of our two islands"
Professor Dan Wincott at Cardiff University speaks to the position of MPs: