The Straits Times says

A Brexit with no withdrawal symptoms

Last week, Britain secured an extension of about six months to make up its mind on Brexit. A sense of drift grips the country that voted to leave the European Union by a 52-48 per cent majority in a referendum two years ago. No consensus, either between the Conservative and the Labour parties or within them, has been reached on the key questions arising out of the imminent decoupling. Fortuitously for Britain, a reckoning is near to shake off the disputations and the dispiritedness. Were it to be seized, it could help Britain clarify its vision of its future, its relationship with the continent and its place in the world.

Having missed a series of deadlines to leave the bloc, Britain is obliged to hold an election on May 23 to choose its representatives to the European Parliament. The prospect of receiving a lashing at the hands of unhappy voters has been unnerving enough to drive the ongoing talks between Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Should they reach an agreement, over the heads of rebellious ranks, and then steer their deal past the deadlocked Parliament, and even better, secure broader public acceptance through a confirmatory referendum, they will have executed a political miracle. Brexit, with dignity and without participation in the EU election, could become a reality by June.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2019, with the headline 'A Brexit with no withdrawal symptoms'. Print Edition | Subscribe