May presents Plan B for Brexit

After the failure of the Brexit deal in the British parliament, Theresa May presented her Plan B for leaving the European Union on Monday. The plan foresees her going back to Brussels to renegotiate the backstop solution for Ireland stipulated in the exit deal, but the EU is not open to new talks on this issue. Commentators show little understanding for May's obstinacy.

Open/close all quotes (DE) /

Obstinacy is obstinacy finds May's performance utterly disappointing:

“No one expected May to actually pull a brand new plan out of her pocket and shout: hurray, I have something no one thought of before. But she could have said: let's take some time now, I'll arrange a postponement of the Brexit date with the EU and then we'll see to it that over the next few months we find a line that we can negotiate with Brussels. Instead she's following the same old pattern: I have the only sensible plan and the others just need a little more time to understand it. That's not doggedness, it's obstinacy: namely failing to accept that she can't push through a national monster project like Brexit on her own.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Avoiding bloodshed must be top priority

The fact that May's proposals are more like a Plan A+ than a Plan B is no mere coincidence, De Morgen stresses:

“May doesn't want applause, she's just leave her stubborn parliament no other choice: it's her deal or no deal. This game of poker is risky. The closer Britain moves towards a hard Brexit, the more she plays with fire in Northern Ireland. ... On both sides of the Irish border there are justified concerns that tiny splinter groups could exploit the no-deal scenario of a 'hard' Irish border to raise their profile with violence. ... May must now do all she can to keep both republican and unionist radicals under control. The top priority is to avoid undermining the Good Friday Agreement and prevent bloodshed. If necessary by postponing the entire Brexit process.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

London doesn't want to be helped

The European partners would happily come to the prime minister's aid if they only knew how, comments Tages-Anzeiger:

“For the EU it's not just about not jeopardising the fragile peace in Northern Ireland. It's about preserving the integrity of the single market, the biggest trump card the EU has. Theresa May is trying one last time to drive a wedge between the EU states, and this time too, she is unlikely to succeed. Otherwise Brussels would agree to practically anything, from the stronger ties to the EU the opposition in the House of Commons wants to a postponement of the exit date. This time Theresa May would just need to make sure that she really does have the backing of a majority at home.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Plan B doesn't stand a chance

May's Plan B won't get Britain out of the current Brexit deadlock either, Daily Sabah concludes:

“Plan B does not have any chance of being realistically considered by anybody except a few Tory parliamentarians. May did not see Corbyn, who refuses to sit at the table unless a 'no-deal' solution is declared unacceptable, and the other parties did not convince the premier to change her stance. A no-deal, with the backstop of the Irish frontier, would be dramatic for the UK. A no-deal, with a strong frontier in Ireland would be the dismissal of the peaceful solution in Ireland.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Brexit opponents undermining democracy

The Daily Telegraph is appalled by attempts by EU-friendly British MPs to ensure that a hard Brexit is prevented by law if need be:

“There is nothing reasonable or logical about ruling out no deal altogether. Not only would doing so scandalously cripple the UK's negotiating position at the very moment the Government should be demanding concessions from Brussels, but if it involves MPs voting to excise from legislation the date of the UK's exit from the EU - 29 March 2019 - it would remove the only guarantee the public has that Brexit will happen. ... Indeed, militant Remainers are not only tampering with Brexit: they are undermining the last vestiges of faith in our democratic system.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

The backstop is unacceptable for the British

The EU and the British government have agreed that if necessary Northern Ireland will stay in the customs union and the single market to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Independent understands why this "backstop" is a thorn in the side of British MPs from all parties:

“There is a big difference between devolving powers to a region on issues like abortion and tax rates on the one hand and, on the other, placing a region in the market of another jurisdiction. In the first case, there are no border implications. In the second, there are. Even more importantly, under the backstop, the laws governing commerce in Northern Ireland would have to be made in Brussels and Strasbourg, thereby disenfranchising Northern voters. EU law would also be the supreme law of the land.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Change of power? Think again

Jeremy Corbyn is having trouble capitalising on the prime minister's Brexit debacle, notes the taz:

“Even before the result of the vote of no confidence was confirmed on Wednesday evening, the left-wing Labour opposition leader was acting like a maniac. Asked in Parliament about his own Brexit position in the case of new elections, the eternal ditherer could only answer that the party would decide on it. ... This is not the way to bring about a changeover of power at the British ballot box. But without it Theresa May remains in office, a prime minister whose dutiful commitment to the implementation of Brexit has remained unshakeable so far. Europe must and should live with this, deal or no deal. There aren't many politicians with any backbone left in Europe nowadays.”

Club Z (BG) /

Petty bean counters rule the world

May should have resigned after losing the Brexit vote in the House of Commons, says Club Z:

“Margaret Thatcher won a crucial vote, but resigned because she was not satisfied with the result. Theresa May suffered a catastrophic defeat in a crucial vote, but didn't resign even though she should have done so the moment she was humiliated so outrageously. ... It's painful to see petty bean counters ruling the world. ... But the worst thing about it is not that they are petty bean counters but that they represent questionable values and have no qualms about using unprincipled populism. The nations of the democratic world, who tragically provide the best breeding ground for the poisonous seeds of bold and unprincipled populism, will pay the price.”

T24 (TR) /

May's commitment unrecognised

T24 laments that many blame the British prime minister for the failure of her Brexit deal:

“May acted with good intentions. On the one hand she had the goal of implementing the Brexit decision and thus respecting the principle of democracy, and on the other hand she wanted to avoid ripping England out of the EU. Unfortunately, she couldn't please anyone. Parliament has rejected her withdrawal agreement with the EU. Now we'll see what comes of Plan B. Will the UK be able to risk a complete break with the EU, or will it continue to insist on its 'we stay out, but leave the door half open' stance?'”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

British elite in crisis

What the British need most right now is a leader who can perform miracles, says the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap:

“At the moment, however, all they have is Theresa May, and Jeremy Corbyn in the opposition as leader of the Labour Party. But the problem doesn't just lie with these two: the country's entire elite is in crisis. The Brexit referendum took the political elite by surprise. And while a majority of the population wants out of the EU, the same isn't true of parliament. ... A good leader is sorely needed.”