After months of to-ing and fro-ing, it looks like we are finally in the end stages of Brexit.
The UK government on Tuesday announced it had agreed the text of a draft withdrawal agreement with the EU and late on Wednesday night, after a mammoth 5-hour cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Theresa May declared she had support from her cabinet for the deal.
But don’t be fooled into thinking the hard part is now behind us. Brexit is in a more precarious state that ever, with two ministers resigning and furious denouncements of the deal in the British press on both the left and right. May is seen as hanging on by a thread, with talk of more cabinet resignations to come. There are serious doubts about her ability to get the deal approved by Parliament.
Investment bank Citi have produced a chart illustrating just how fiendishly complex the remaining process of Brexit is — and how we could still end up in a scenario where Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.
Here’s the chart:
Citi economist Christian Schulz writes: “The ratification procedure especially on the UK side is fraught with risks. After the meaningful vote, the deal will also have to pass the legislative process in both chambers of Parliament. If at any point, MPs vote down the deal, the likelihood of a Conservative Party leadership contest, a general election or a second referendum rises substantially.
“While it may be possible to try and renegotiate or to simply wait, the government may lose control of the process to Parliament on 21 January, with uncertain consequences.
“Still our base case is that the deal will eventually pass and the UK will leave the EU smoothly after a long transition period. Today’s news brings us another step closer to that.”