We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

February 18, 2019

How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit

There are two important developments going on in UK politics right now with the potential to influence the Brexit outcome: a split in the Labour Party and the fast rise in the membership of Nigel Farage's new Brexit party. 

As we are nearing a number of important votes, it appears now increasingly probable that the split in the Labour Party will finally happen. Paul Brand from ITV says the most likely date is February 27, the date for the next big Brexit debates, but it could be later. The decision seems to have been taken, the argument is about timing. The rebels want to get more Labour MPs on their side. The delay suggests that they have not succeed so far, beyond a core group of around five or six MPs around Chuka Umunna, who has been one of the most outspoken advocates of a second referendum campaign.

A break-away would not directly affect the balance of votes in the Commons, but would weaken the second referendum caucus in the Labour Party. The substantive dispute is about Labour's strategy in the run-up to the meaningful vote. Umunna argues - correctly in our view - that it is wrong to think about Brexit as a process that will invariably lead to a final trade-off between no-deal and second referendum. This has been the prayer of the second referendum advocates. The problem with that strategy is that May pursues the same idea by running down the clock, and confronting parliament with the alternatives between deal-vs-no-deal, which has prompted Ummuna's action. As one of us argued this morning, the chances of a no-deal Brexit remain significant. We remain sceptical that Cooper's wrecking amendment will manage to achieve its goal even if passed in the Commons.

The second strand in British politics with a potential effect on the Brexit outcome is the incredibly fast rise of the Brexit party - now with 100,000 members as the Sun reports. As of April 2018, the Tory Party membership was 124,000. While the Brexit party is still little more than a movement, the Tories are acutely aware of the danger this party poses to their future prospects. If Brexit were to result in a combination of a long delay and new elections, we would expect the Brexit party to destroy the narrow Tory majorities in a large number of marginal seats, thus paving the way for a large Corbyn-led majority. We note that none of this is yet reflected in the opinion polls. The most interesting aspect of the opinion polls right now is their volatility, with jumps of 7 points in either direction over short periods of time. This is telling us that the situation is highly volatile.

We also note that two pro-European Tories, Sir Alan Duncan and Sarah Wollaston, are facing deselection campaigns by their local constituencies. Anybody who predicts the size of rebellion would have to take into account this push-back from constituencies. This is why we treat reports of mass resignations from the government with great caution.

Both of these political developments - the splits of the left and the right - favour a workable House of Commons compromise on the Brexit deal. On the left it weakens the hardcore pro-European wing. And on the right, it reduces the incentive of pro-EU MPs to opt for a Brexit extension without a concrete alternative.

We also note that the Sun has come out in favour of May's deal, arguing that the Tories would face a political catastrophe if they failed to endorse it. The pressure is clearly on.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • January 31, 2017
  • Project fear against Italexit
  • On how not to frustrate Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 21, 2019
  • Philippe to brace for more union protests
  • Greens are the electorates' new favourite
  • February 07, 2019
  • Forget Tusk - the real action is elsewhere
  • On David Malpass and the Trump legacy
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 03, 2019
  • What to look out for in the last week of the compaign
  • Trump threatens tariffs on French luxury exports
  • April 26, 2019
  • How Brexit has given rise to different perceptions of reality
  • The EP, not Madrid, will boost Spanish clout
  • How realistic is a Gaullist Europe?
  • September 17, 2018
  • About the new partnership between Russia and China
  • EU ponders Irish backstop protocol to help May
  • February 07, 2018
  • A short note on bitcoin
  • July 04, 2017
  • On the CDU’s programme
  • Macron defines his presidential style
  • Why do we criticise modern macro?
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 26, 2019
  • Could Johnson be headed for an electoral landslide?
  • Macron's conquest of public opinion over pension reform
  • Marion Maréchal keeps dream of political comeback alive
  • March 29, 2019
  • Don't take Macron for granted
  • Green is EU's future - Loiseau takes a stance
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • April 03, 2018
  • Is the time for Brexit revocation running out?
  • October 04, 2017
  • On why Theresa May is likely to survive
  • On how to resolve the Brexit talks
  • Social housing - not a good start for the French government
  • April 11, 2017
  • What to expect, and not expect from Schulz
  • The view from Berlin
  • The view from Moscow
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 02, 2019
  • What Boris wants...
  • Ditched again - the decline and fall of Manfred Weber
  • May 27, 2019
  • The rising chances of a no-deal Brexit
  • January 18, 2019
  • Why Dublin won't yield on the backstop
  • Town hall debates vs street protests - who is winning?
  • September 13, 2018
  • Bravo Mr Juncker for raising the issue of the euro’s international role. But what now?
  • Are the eurosceptics imploding?
  • May 10, 2018
  • Time for some clear thinking on Trump and Iran
  • Will Corbyn accept the EEA? Brexiteers can relax. He won't.
  • What next for the DUP?
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • August 24, 2017
  • Legislative hyperactivity for Tsipras' new narrative
  • On the deep causes of euroscepticism
  • April 23, 2017
  • The demise of the AfD has accelerated dramatically
  • On how France will need to confront Germany
  • December 21, 2016
  • A culture of denial
  • Ukraine agreement hangs in the balance
  • Valls U-turn on 49-3
  • Beware of exotic Brexit options
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 20, 2019
  • A dramatic loss of confidence in government and state in Germany
  • October 29, 2019
  • People's Vote descends into Civil War
  • CDU at odds on dealing with extreme parties
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • August 08, 2019
  • A poll on October 31?
  • July 22, 2019
  • Will Johnson go for elections?
  • How will von der Leyen handle the east?
  • July 05, 2019
  • Why it is difficult to legislate against a no-deal Brexit
  • June 19, 2019
  • What the US-Iran standoff tells us about the EU
  • Is Germany withholding information on right-wing extremism?
  • June 05, 2019
  • Let’s talk about Boris
  • Will Kinal be the kingmaker in Greek elections?
  • May 22, 2019
  • Better start those no-deal preparations right now
  • Europe's real transfer union is from east to west
  • May 08, 2019
  • How to think about Italy's fiscal position in 2020
  • Anti-Immigration rhetoric unites EP's future new far-right group
  • Not looking like a European century
  • April 26, 2019
  • How Brexit has given rise to different perceptions of reality
  • The EP, not Madrid, will boost Spanish clout
  • How realistic is a Gaullist Europe?
  • April 15, 2019
  • Finland's far right changes the game
  • Brexit party drawing almost even with the Tories
  • April 03, 2019
  • Game on
  • Can someone please take the table off-the-table!
  • March 26, 2019
  • No, the UK parliament has not taken control
  • Barnier for president?
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • March 05, 2019
  • The most promising Brexit strategy we have heard yet
  • March 01, 2019
  • Stars seem to align in favour of the Brexit deal
  • The hidden traps of the UK rebate
  • Orbán coming dangerously close to EPP expulsion
  • February 25, 2019
  • Deal versus short delay
  • The astonishing weakness of Five Star
  • The real threat is from the left not the right
  • February 21, 2019
  • Sound and fury, but Brexit reality unchanged
  • Supertanker Deutschland moves to join internet age
  • February 19, 2019
  • Neither seven dwarfs, nor the magnificent seven. Merely a sad day for Labour
  • Will Costa last through the stand-off with the unions?
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit