The Negotiation Battle of Brexit

Abyan Faisal Putratama
6 min readMay 23, 2019
Credit: NBC Washington

United Kingdom (UK) is now facing the deadlock of British Exit (Brexit) agreement which is the prominent issue of UK since the referendum held on 23 June 2016 that invoked article 50 of the treaty on European Union, starting from 23 June 2016 with two-year process of implementing the administration for Brexit.

Basically, the whole administration and negotiation process of Brexit should be ended on 29 March 2019; however, the reality is the deadline of Brexit is extended until 31 October 2019, this issue was occurred because of the failure of Theresa May administration to get the vote in the House of Commons of UK Parliament. The vote regarding to the implementation of Brexit which called meaningful vote already held twice with the same outcome which is not in favor for Brexit supporters. Moreover, the first meaningful vote was damaged May heavily which her suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat of prime minister in British since the beginning of democratic era. She’s lost with 230 majority member of parliaments (MP’s) voted to oppose the Brexit deal that May offered. On 13 March 2019, the second meaningful vote held again by Theresa May that she hope will get pass by the MP’s. However, the outcome of the vote is nothing different with the previous one and MP’s are still voted against it. After the second defeat, Mrs. May stated that “I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is the UK leaves the European Union in an orderly fashion with a deal. “And that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed only deal available.”

The negotiation between Government and Opposition

Recently, the outbreak between Tories and Labour were happened again, both of parties accusing each other as the talks of Brexit have been collapsed even after they were insisted the discussions had taken place in a good faith. Theresa May accusing labour is “betray” the negotiation of both parties over second referendum, while Jeremy Corbyn also said the government unwilling to compromise and becoming weak. This mistrust issue takes place due to the lack of negotiation bargaining and solid stand of Jeremy Corbyn which his decision toward the Brexit negotiation somehow is “unbreakable”. Another thing which has been criticized by her cabinet is when Mrs. May actively attempt to find common ideas with the opposition leader parties, Jeremy Corbyn. The key problem of this issue because the Prime Minister blamed by her action as an “act of bad faith”. According to BBC (2019), John McDonnell said that she jeopardized the negotiations. He argued that with the crosses-parties talk Theresa May were already blown out the confidential document to the opposition and even the party hasn’t briefed the media yet.

According to Druckman (1986) is a formal version of dealing with conflict resolution in order to find the common ground of the ideas to solve its problem which must be agreed upon by negotiators. The aim of negotiation is conflict resolution and this action is necessary when a conflict already faced the dead end that only negotiation can prevent the escalation of the conflict. Negotiators should respect other opinion in order to maintain the situation and doesn’t insult the other party. This negotiation theory may possibly explain to understand the current situation of Brexit deal negotiation, especially on how Mrs. May negotiation behaves.

The negotiation battle between Mrs. May and Jeremy Corbyn were very intents. Since the beginning of Brexit referendum, Jeremy Corbyn always represented his position as a very vocal person that opposed the idea of Brexit. He can accommodate and influence the Labour to disagree with the Brexit deal vote carried by the government event though not every Labour MP’s agree with him. Both, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn plays a big role in the Brexit deal negotiation between each other parties, despite several controversial that covered their way of negotiating and governing, these two people are the prominent keys for the Brexit which could be several result in the ends, for example; Brexit with deal, Brexit no-deal and remain in the EU. Furthermore, the talks between them are tough with both of them try to persuade their ideas into the parliament. Mrs. May strategy in negotiating her Brexit deal is undoubtedly criticized by her party members which the Tories believe that crossed-party talks was a disadvantage for her party because it leaks the whole confidential documents of the Tory party and the act in unnecessary. The strategies is backfiring her and even make the situation getting worse.

After days and months of negotiating with the Labour, Mrs. May use the option to step down from her position as Prime Minister. This option used by the Prime Minister might be the last strategy for her in order to implement her Brexit deal in parliamentary. This action jeopardized the situation in parliamentary and this also caused by opposition in a way that opposition leader or Jeremy Corbyn pushes Mrs. May to resign from her position because opposition believe Mrs. May is incompetence and jeopardize the situation in parliamentary and the whole UK. The escalation of her resignation idea not only limited to critics from opposition and her party members, but also the resignation of her parties.

The irony of May defeat in twice meaningful vote is when lots of her own party members are voted against her in parliament. The Conservative party internal is in instability caused by the polarization thought about Brexit deal. This issue is resulted on 3 members of Conservative MP’s had resigned from Conservative due to the lack of Theresa May strategy on Brexit. According to article published by Politico (2019), three Conservative MPs (Tory); Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry wrote a joint letter to prime minister accusing Mrs. May isn’t care about the internal problems of Conservative and the top priority of her only to draw up “red lines”. Gareth Johnson, Craig Tracey and George Eustica were another example of MP’s which resigned from her cabinet because of the Brexit issue.

The lates person in charge who resigns from her cabinet was The Leader of House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom. This was believed because Andrea think that Brexit deal will no longer deliver the “truly sovereign United Kingdom”, another issue might be triggered because Mrs. May plan to resign after her Brexit deal approved by the parliament and Andrea is preparing for the next election if Mrs. May actually resign. Brexit issue has polarized the parliamentary into groups, the new parties are founded as the disappointed move from several cabinet and shadow cabinet, and it’s created Change UK and Brexit party in the outcome. The change UK stand is to remain solid with the EU and rejected the idea of Brexit deal which May delivered and Brexit Party are those who are in favor with the Brexit deal and will do any negotiations to avoid Brexit with no deal or remained as EU members.

The Final Showdown for Brexit

European Union will completed European Parliamentary elections on 26 May 2019, dilemma inside the cabinet of Mrs. May are inevitable and getting worse because the leader of House of Commons was resigned because of the different opinion about Brexit deal. Because of this Mrs. May will try to vote against for the fourth time about Brexit deal, this fourth chances happen because the third vote of Brexit which voted about the extending the date for Brexit are granted and also because the Commisioner of EU also extended the deadline for Brexit until 31 October 2019. On the other hand, if Britih get elected again in European Parliamentary, there will be instability situation inside the parliamentary, it’s because the elected one might try to maintain his position in the EU Parliamentary and jeopardized the vote again.

Mrs. May said she will bring Brexit deal vote on June 3 and hope that the outcome will benefit herself and Tory. If this one vote are losing again, the consequences of Mrs. May position unarguably in danger and also creating the impact to the British people because it could lead to the Brexit no-deal and if its true, the Prime Minister will have to prepare for the new regulations especially in trade regulations. The UK will be under the customary of World Trade Organization (WTO) and even it can cause the conflict over borderline in Ireland with the Northern Ireland or maybe it will be her last negotiation battle to fight for her Brexit deal before her step down from Downing Street.

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