As Brexit Party surges, no-deal cannot be ruled out

Surging support for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party in the European election polls shows a no-deal Brexit cannot be ruled out.

Polls for the Observer newspaper and by YouGov both now show the Brexit Party – which was founded in January this year and has no policy other than leaving the EU without a deal – has 34% of voting intentions at next week’s European Parliament elections in the UK, more than the two main British political parties combined.

While the British Parliament has stated its opposition to no-deal, and cross-party talks are continuing seeking tweaks to the deal that can muster MPs' support, Mr Farage claims that success in the elections for his party should force the MPs to rethink their opposition to the policy.

At present if the MPs cannot agree to sign off a deal then in any case the UK could face a stark ‘cliff-edge’ choice in October between leaving with no-deal and calling Brexit off.

Another possibility is that before then MPs will agree to holding a final referendum, which would give the public the choice, likely to be either two or three-way, between the options of remaining or leaving with or without a deal.

It is thought that it is unlikely the European Union would agree to another extension.

There are also increasing doubts over how long Prime Minister Theresa May will remain in her job, especially if the Conservatives do very badly in the election – the Observer poll shows the party in fourth place, while the YouGov one places it fifth, behind the greens, with only 10%.

This means that – despite the sense that the extension (to October 31, 2019 at the latest) has given more breathing space – it remains important to think ahead and be as prepared as possible, as we outline in May’s edition of The Connexion newspaper. Notably there are various administrative procedures people can undertake to lessen inconvenience later on.

Having said which, the polls do not show a majority of British people in favour of leaving with no-deal: the Observer poll shows 27% in favour of remain-oriented parties and 59% support for parties that have ruled out no-deal, as opposed to 38% for Brexit Party and Ukip which are happy to leave with no deal.

These figures for the YouGov poll are 31% remain (not including SNP which is lumped into a 7% 'other' category but has 4% in the Observer one), 57% for those who have ruled out no-deal (plus SNP) and 37% for the no-deal parties.

Meanwhile the Lib-Dems, the first choice for many remainers, have seen a surge almost as large as the one for the Brexit Party, up 5% since April 23, compared to up 6% for the Brexit Party, according to the Observer poll.

British people who have been out of the UK for less than 15 years have a choice at the polls this year, to vote in the UK or in France if they were able to register in time.

French barrister Julien Fouchet yesterday had a hearing in the Conseil d’Etat top administrative court over the problem of Britons who are not on the electoral register in France for these elections having assumed they would not be able to take part due to Brexit.

However he told Connexion the rapporteur, a court official whose view the court often follows, gave the view yesterday that in view of the uncertainty over Brexit, British people should have anticipated that Brexit might be put off and should have registered before the usual deadline of March 31.

Mr Fouchet said he is still hoping the court will rule in coming days, but there is now a risk a ruling will come too late to enable Britons who missed out to register.

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