British Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a planned Tuesday vote in Parliament on the terms of "Brexit" — her nation's exit from the European Union — after admitting that her plan lacked support and "would be defeated by a significant margin."
Now, May must return to Brussels, the seat of the EU, to attempt to hammer out new terms — but European Council President Donald Tusk says the other member states are not willing to budge.
Charles Sennott, executive director of The GroundTruth Project, told Boston Public Radio Monday that May was facing an uphill battle in winning over Parliament to her Brexit plan.
He explained that May must bridge the gap between her own party's side of Parliament, which favors a more hardline exit from the EU, and opponents of Brexit on the other side, who would prefer to see the bill roundly defeated. One of the main sticking points is the status of Northern Ireland, which would be able to maintain closer ties to the EU than the rest of Great Britain under May's plan.
"The question is: Is Theresa May going to convince her party, the Conservative Party, to do moderate tweaks to her proposal so that it can get through the EU, which is standing firm and saying 'We've given you the best deal we've can'?" Sennott said.
"It is really on a knife-edge right now," he said. "I don't know how to interpret which way this will go. I don't think anyone knows."
May did not say when the next vote will occur, but set a final deadline for Jan. 21.
The botched vote has some raising the question of whether there will be another Brexit referendum. Sennott said he thinks that's unlikely.
"If I had to bet, I'd say [May] gets it through," Sennott said. "I think the Brits understand there's a real sentiment for change, that this is a modest proposal, and to go back to a referendum and to start all over again ... [it's] hard to imagine."