Britain's Brexit agreement deadline is near

When David Cameron called the referendum in 2016, he said, "a vote to leave is the gamble of the century." With the October deadline for a Brexit agreement approaching, and both sides upping their no-deal preparations, the stakes could not be higher. CNN's Bianca Nobilo reports.

Posted: Sep 30, 2018 9:31 AM
Updated: Sep 30, 2018 9:41 AM

With six months to go before Britain formally leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019, Brexit has never looked more baffling.

Last week, the UK's official opposition Labour Party formally backed a policy that could lead to a second EU referendum.

So, finally all those people who want to scrap Brexit altogether have something to hang on to, right?

Not exactly.

Let's start from the beginning. The governing Conservative Party is bitterly divided on exactly what Brexit should look like.

Prime Minister Theresa May has put to Brussels her so-called Chequers plan for what she thinks the future relationship between the UK and the EU should be.

It uses lots of suspiciously Remain-friendly language like a "common rulebook for all goods including agri-foods" and describes a "facilitated customs agreement" that treats the UK and the EU "as if a combined customs territory".

This means there would be no need for customs checks at the border -- thus removing the need for a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But it also leaves room for regulatory flexibility, allowing Britain to be competitive in certain areas once free from the EU and crucially, Chequers would see an end to legal oversight from the European Court of Justice in the UK.

Cabinet departures

May's deal was an attempt to paper over the cracks in her party between those who want to remain very closely tied to the EU, those who want to storm off and go it alone and every position in between. She also has to make sure she doesn't lose the 10 votes of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, who prop up May's Conservatives in Parliament.

It didn't work. Her plan led to two high-profile resignations. First, her Brexit Secretary David Davis. Then, her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

These two men -- who since resigning have described Chequers as effectively wrapping "a suicide vest around the British constitution" and handing the "detonator" to Brussels (Johnson) and as a deal that "falls far short" of delivering "what the British people were promised during the referendum" (Davis) -- have thrown their weight behind a different plan, which would see a far looser trading arrangement between the UK and the EU, but allowing for greater trading opportunities elsewhere.

If you can bear to read it, Johnson has outlined his plan for a "SuperCanada" free trade deal in no fewer than 4,500 words in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. The timing of this pitch for his version of Brexit is significant, as it comes days before the Conservative's annual party conference after months of speculation about May's leadership.

A divided party is a major problem for May. Had she not lost her parliamentary majority in last year's disastrous snap election, it's possible that she could have forced her disgruntled MPs to swallow whatever Brexit deal she wanted.

But now, with two high-profile former ministers whipping up her rebellious backbenchers and the nightmare of her reliance on the DUP in parliament, it's hard to see a way through for her.

Second vote?

This is where the Labour Party comes in.

Labour's call for a second public vote would only happen in the event that May is unable to get her Brexit deal through Parliament, then fails to hold a general election. Of course, the unspoken reality here is that without a general election and taking power from the Conservatives, Labour lacks the authority to hold such a vote. And even then, Labour has been a little fudgy on the issue of whether Remain would even be an option on the ballot paper.

What is possible, however, is this: May's Brexit plan could fail to make it through Parliament which, after some boring constitutional nonsense, could lead to her government falling, forcing a general election.

Presumably, both parties would then offer detailed outlines of their Brexit plans in their election manifestos, offering the public a clear choice. Should either party win an outright majority, then there may be no need for a second public vote.

For what it's worth, the Labour Party is not tremendously clear on Brexit, either. Loosely speaking, Labour wants to remain in the Customs Union to avoid a hard border in Ireland and keep all the benefits of single market access (for those who really care, you can read the Labour Party's Six Key Tests for a final Brexit deal, which Jeremy Corbyn somewhat amusingly forgot in a broadcast interview last week).

Even more confusingly, Corbyn also said last week that he would vote with the government to push through May's Brexit plan if she committed to remaining in the Customs Union, which would mean the Conservative plan being dictated and voted through by Labour. That would lead to even more chaos for both parties.

It's hard to predict exactly how MPs will vote when the Brexit deal arrives. The majority of the House of Commons was opposed to Brexit, yet still voted to trigger Article 50. With the threat of a no-deal crash exit hanging over them, will they vote against May and risk a calamity?

Or will the unhappy Remainers hold their nerve and hope that events will play in their favor? And it's worth remembering that all of this is still Britain negotiating with itself -- Brussels has not agreed with May's Chequers proposal, the only plan formally on the table, soon after it was published.

So, what does the next six months look like for Britain? From the madness described above, goodness knows. But given the divisions in British politics and May's habit of clinging onto power, business as usual and months more of zombie governance is as likely an outcome as any.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 41°
Columbus
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Oxford
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 30°
Starkville
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather