The Guardian view on Theresa May’s Brexit: pause it and rethink | Editorial
The UK ought not be precipitously hassled out of the EU by a Conservative party on the verge of a nervous breakdown
No prime minister likes to lose in parliament. Theresa May must be getting used to it. On Tuesday night she was defeated for the 18th time in her short premiership. Crucially she lost, once again, the “meaningful vote” on her deal to leave the European Union, though it was by a smaller margin than the record defeat she suffered in January. Mrs May’s inability to secure a majority for her withdrawal agreement suggests that her command over parliament is evaporating. There is virtually no chance that she can push through the agreement before Britain is due to leave the bloc on 29 March.
Mrs May anticipated this dismal scenario. She will now hold a parliamentary vote on whether MPs want to leave the EU without a deal – a damaging, disorderly Brexit. So weakened is the prime minister that her authority does not even extend to the cabinet table, forcing her to give a free vote on whether or not to back a hard Brexit. That cabinet ministers would vote to transform the current political and constitutional crisis into an economic one for the sake of their careers shows how deeply corrupting Brexit is. A no-deal Brexit needs to be voted down to stop ruinous fantasies taking hold in our politics.