We were due to leave the EU today. But the original departure date of 29th March has been delayed as the government searches for a way to make that departure possible.
The PM has proposed a deal and tried repeatedly to get it agreed by MPs. MPs have rejected it – along with the idea of No-deal Brexit. Any lingering hopes Mrs May might have had about brokering a deal was dealt a fresh blow as the government was defeated again by 27 votes on Monday. Thirty Conservative MPs rebelled, including three ministers.
The Commons seemed to reject every other option on Wednesday, leaving no clear way forward. Mrs May pledged to stand aside if her deal gained support, which may or may not concentrate support for yet another vote.
Some solution will be needed before the new deadline of April 12th. But if MPs can’t agree on what to do next, what do the people think?
Could do better…
Theresa May has argued that her deal is the best way to meet the decision to leave given by voters in the EU referendum nearly three years ago
Voters themselves don’t seem so sure. Figures collated by polling analysts NatCen Social Research and What UK Thinks suggest that around 80% of UK voters believe that the negotiations have been mishandled. It is an opinion shared by those who voted to leave and those who voted to remain.
It looks as though the government has succeeded in uniting the country – but only in condemning how it has handled the Brexit negotiations.
The research found that the longer negotiations have continued, the more pessimistic voters have become about any deal the UK will secure. The proportion who think the UK is heading for a bad deal is now around 63% and seems to be getting higher the longer the infighting is dragged out.
Remain and Leave voters seem to be agreed on their opinions of Mrs May’s deal. The country in general seems to be unhappy with the progress or lack of it on negotiations. But there seems little consensus on what should happen instead.
Do voters even still want to leave the EU?
The majority for leaving the EU was always narrow, and various factors seem to have affected the mood of the country.
The original voting patterns may have had an age bias, with older voters more likely to vote leave. 40% of those aged 65 and over supported Remain, while 60% placed their cross against Leave.
More younger people, who generally speaking tend to be more pro-remain have reached voting age. Just over 70% of 18 to 24-year-olds who voted in the referendum backed Remain. Demographics alone may be enough to change the outcome if the referendum was called again.
But the general sentiment that we are heading for a bad deal may have even more effect.
Remainers believe that another referendum might swing the decision their way. Committed Brexiteers may be against it for exactly the same reason.
So what happens now?
The pollsters suggest that the country might not be able to agree on having another referendum. Mrs May has ruled it out, suggesting that it would be bad for social cohesion.
It looks as though the future of the country is still in the hands of the politicians. Brexit could be under a deal negotiated at the last minute (the extra time Mrs May has bought) under a potentially painful No Deal – or even just possibly cancelled altogether, because it is impossible to agree on a way to do it.
What will it all mean for you personally? The Pound gained a few points on the Euro, and FTSE 100 and 250 were up a little, suggesting the markets are not worried about the delay to Brexit, and believe there might yet be a solution. Brexit remains full of surprises, and the economy may even receive a substantial boost when there is a clearer view of the way forward.
But your most pressing question may be whether to buy Euros now in preparation for your summer holiday or wait until the ink is dry on some sort of Brexit plan. As city traders would reluctantly agree, it is impossible to say.
Whatever Brexit holds, it might be time to get some expert help with your own financial future. Careful investment and diversification can help provide a sound basis for your own future.
Naturally, at Continuum, we would be very happy to help.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
bbc.co.uk – Brexit: MPs voting on plan to take control of process – 25th March 2019
bbc.co.uk – What do voters make of Brexit now? – 26th March 2019
whatukthinks.org – HAVE THE POLITICIANS DELIVERED? VOTERS’ JUDGEMENT ON THE BREXIT PROCESS
bbc.co.uk – How young and old would vote on Brexit now – 10th August 2018