U.K. Gripped by Trench Warfare Over Brexit

(Bloomberg) --

The respite is over in British politics, as Parliament returns and lawmakers are thrust straight into the Brexit quagmire. The next three months will shape the country’s history — one way or another — for years.

The U.K. is due to leave the European Union on March 29, and will crash out into legal limbo unless Prime Minister Theresa May can get politicians to back the Brexit agreement she negotiated with Brussels. But the concessions she promised to secure from the bloc haven’t (yet) materialized, and it looks likely her deal will be rejected when it goes to a parliamentary vote next week.

The battle lines are being drawn for what happens after that. More than 200 members of Parliament have written to May urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit, while a cross-party group of high-profile lawmakers is trying to use a separate vote this week to make crashing out of the EU impossible without the approval of the House of Commons.

The campaign for a second referendum is also not going away, bolstered by a YouGov poll over the break that showed Remain would win if another vote was held now. At the moment, it’s an issue putting the most pressure on opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who looks unwilling to support another plebiscite despite growing demand from his members.

Meanwhile, May is plowing on, warning lawmakers they will plunge the country into “uncharted territory” if they rebuff her deal. It arguably already is.

U.K. Gripped by Trench Warfare Over Brexit

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U.S. allies feud | Relations between Japan and South Korea have always been tetchy, but Japan’s spokesman says they’re now in a “severe state.” The spat is over South Korea’s top court requiring two top Japanese companies to pay compensation to Koreans forced into labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.

Royal ructions | Malaysia’s king has taken the unprecedented step of abdicating just two years into his five-year term, as rumors swirl that he married a former Miss Moscow late last year. A new king will be elected in the coming weeks.

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What to Watch:

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren’s inaugural trip to Iowa as a likely presidential candidate.
  • The government of the oil-producing West African nation of Gabon said junior officers were arrested after they seized the national radio and announced plans to “restore democracy.”

And finally … While the U.K.’s defense secretary says Brexit is Britain's chance to be a “true global player once more” — including through military force — a new campaign to recruit soldiers has backfired. A poster declaring “Snowflakes — your country needs you — and your compassion” was meant to demonstrate the need for new recruits with “soft skills,” but the soldier chosen to be the face of the ad has reportedly threatened to quit. “Snowflake” is a derogatory one in the U.K. used to describe people who are overly sensitive.

U.K. Gripped by Trench Warfare Over Brexit

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