Getting the draft Brexit agreement approved by a largely hostile Parliament will be a “hard job” for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and a second referendum is out of the question, said a former advisor to the late Margaret Thatcher.
On Thursday, a flurry of ministers resigned from their positions, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, in protest at May’s proposals. Their resignations came hours after May said she had obtained enough support from her senior ministers for her draft Brexit deal to move forward.
It will be a “hard job” to get the draft proposal through Parliament “because Prime Minister May has upset people from all sides, including the ‘Remainers’ … they feel that we’re still in the European Union with no seat on the board,” John Browne, who was also a former member of the British Parliament, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Remainers are people who voted for the U.K. to stay as part of the European Union.
“I don’t think there’s a chance of a second referendum. The referendum is already been done. It’s like trying to re-run the derby if you didn’t have the winning horse — so, it’s already been done. There’s Brexit,” he added.
May could also potentially face a leadership challenge if enough Conservative lawmakers submit letters of no confidence in the prime minister.
The moves on Thursday roiled European stock markets and sent the sterling tumbling more than 1 percent.
Experts believe that May has a “huge mountain to climb” in the Parliament and that the U.K.’s troubles extend beyond its borders.
“A disorderly Brexit benefits no one including the Eurozone,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy for BK Asset Management, wrote in a Thursday note, adding that a no-deal Brexit could potentially weaken the European Central Bank’s case to normalize its monetary policy.
Some analysts have said that the U.K. has only a few options to consider as the deadline to formally exit the EU draws closer.
“At this stage, the UK’s options appear limited to the deal on the table or a ‘no deal’,” Daniel Been from ANZ Research said in a Friday morning note. “Another option would be to extend the Article 50 deadline, but this would mean that Brexit has not been delivered and calls for a second referendum would likely soar.”
The fast-changing environment around Brexit could potentially extend volatility in markets amid numerous questions and possibilities that lie ahead, according to some analysts.
David de Garis, director of economics and markets at the National Australia Bank, said in a Friday note that markets would have an “almost impossible task of navigating through a maze of possibilities.” Those include the potential for leadership changes, whether May can get Parliamentary approval, and if the Europeans would approve the deal.