Brexit rumbles on, getting ever closer to B-Day – just three weeks away. Or maybe not the end? I’m getting lots of emails about it.
Last week’s meaningful vote was kicked down the road yet again. Parliament will now have up to three meaningful votes on the 12th, 13th and 14th of March. The first is, again, on the Prime Minister’s deal – yes or no. However, whilst there may be some minor alterations to the backstop, giving the Brexiteers in the ERG a ladder to climb up to avoid the risk of no Brexit at all, it is by no means certain that her deal will pass. If it does, we then have just a couple of weeks to get through the Withdrawal Bill to put all this into law. Bear in mind that the first meaningful vote was scheduled for last October because it was felt that the Withdrawal Bill would take 4 months to complete.
If Mrs May fails again, then on the 13th MPs vote for or against a “no-deal” Brexit. There is no indication of any party whipping on this, but the parliamentary numbers are massively against no-deal so it is unlikely that a no-deal outcome on the 29th March will pass. So, we then vote again on the 14th, in favour, or not, of extending the Article 50 process. But to what end?
Are we seeking an extension to carry on negotiating? Or for time to get the Withdrawal Bill through? Or to have a few more stabs at passing Mrs May’s deal? The EU must unanimously agree on an extension and in any event, we cannot extend beyond the end of June when the new EU Parliament sits for the first time and we will be required to send back UK MEPs. Without clarity on what we get from an extension, why support it?
If Parliament votes against extending A50, but has voted both against the deal, and against a no-deal Brexit, what is the outcome? Nothing is certain but it looks to me that the only option left is to cancel Article 50 in what will be viewed as a massive act of abandonment of the democratic process and referendum.
This is such a hideous, disruptive mess. Business is tearing its hair out at the crazy uncertainty. We are not properly prepared for no deal. That is why I will continue to vote for Mrs May’s deal as the best way to get a sensible Brexit and deliver on the 63% Leave vote here in Wyre Forest.