The problem for May is the same one she’s had all along: To pass the WAB she will need a majority for one kind of Brexit or another. And there’s no sign of one. Unless that changes, her bid to avoid the UK taking part in the European election will fail.
April 25: Deadline for MEP candidates
According to the Electoral Commission, political parties must submit their nomination papers and lists of candidates for the European election by 4pm on Thursday April 25.
Each political party has its own procedures for selecting candidates, but because the UK elects MEPs on a regional basis, all parties will have to submit their regional lists by that date (except for the South West region, which must file a day early because of public holidays in Gibraltar, which is considered part of the region).
May 2: Local elections
Town hall elections across England and Northern Ireland (there are no local elections in Scotland or Wales this year) will provide an important stress test of the impact the Brexit crisis is having on support for the main parties. Results will be clear by the afternoon of Friday May 3.
Some Conservative MPs say a poor result for the Tories could be the trigger for a move against May, but there is no formal mechanism by which the party can remove her until a year has expired since the last confidence vote, which was in December 2018.
May 23: European election in the UK
Assuming May is unsuccessful in her bid to complete ratification of a Brexit deal by May 22, then the UK will have to take part in the EU ballot.
May 26: European election results
While the UK vote count may be complete by the morning of Friday May 24, all EU countries must hold back their results until the evening of Sunday May 26, when all countries have finished voting. Watch out for breakthroughs from new parties on either side of the Brexit debate: Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and Chuka Umunna’s Change UK, which advocates for a second referendum and staying in the EU.
May 27 to July 1: Stop those MEPs!
Even if the UK has elected MEPs, May’s government will hold out hope that a Brexit deal can be approved by parliament soon enough to ensure they never have to take their seats in the European Parliament, or if they do, to leave promptly thereafter.
“We want to ensure any British MEPs that are elected never have to take their seats in the European Parliament by ensuring this is all done well before the new European Parliament convenes,” Chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC on Friday.
July 2: New European Parliament
The new European Parliament sits for the first time, with UK MEPs if Brexit has not happened yet.