The Brexit deal of Theresa May with the EU was rejected by the UK MPs late evening of Tuesday (January 15, 2019) by a majority of 230 votes. Two hours after the decision, prominent economist Nauro Campus provided us with his first reflections on this.
Nauro Campos, Professor of Economics at Brunel University London, Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and Research Professor at ETH-Zürich, is a also the Editor of the influential research journal Comparative Economic Studies.
KFZ: Are you surprised about the large rejection of the Brexit deal?
Nauro Campos: The most surprising thing in UK politics this week is how everything (so far) has occurred as predicted. Before the vote, there was certainty about the defeat but questions about its extent. At the lower-end, the estimated margin was about 160 votes (which would already make it a “historic defeat.”) SkyNews I believe held the upper-end with a defeat by about 225 votes. Thus 230 votes would be shocking only to those that don’t follow the debate closely (and it has been such a repetitive, shallow and infuriating debate that there are indeed many good reasons not to follow it.)
KFZ: What do you expect to happen now, general elections, a new referendum, a cold Brexit, or else?
Nauro Campos: I am writing this less than two hours after the result from the vote so, if
predictability will rule this week in Westminster (for a change), than the prime minister will win the vote of no confidence tomorrow closing down a main avenue for a general election. Immediately after voting down the piece of legislation that gives May’s government the reason to be, the DUP (and one should soon expect the rest of the Conservative rebels to come along) said that tomorrow they will show themselves confident, instead. Clearly, it doesn’t matter confident in what. This is the stuff of populism and has been so for the last three years. A hard Brexit seems less likely this week but which of the other options may prevail (second referendum, revocation or extension of A50) should be easier to gauge this time on Monday (after the Prime Minister goes back to parliament with details of her proposed Plan B.)
KFZ: What are the consequences for Europe?
Nauro Campos: I guess Europe will continue to do what it has been doing in the last few months regarding Brexit, namely, (1) to wait for Westminster to come to terms with the agreements it signed in December 2017 at the end of phase 1 of the negotiations and (2) continue to prepare for the worse case scenario (a no deal) but confidently showing that it is much better prepared for it than the UK currently is.
Note: KFZ is Klaus F. Zimmermann, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and President of the Global Labor Organization.
Right: Zimmermann and Campos with Katie Hall, Associate Editor at Palgrave Macmillan & Springer Nature at the ASSA 2019 Conference in Atlanta.