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Current Brexit Date 7 days away – Waiting for EU extension and General Election
Boris Johnson has said it’s “remarkable” that MPs backed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at its second reading in the Commons but also that it’s a “great shame” they then voted to delay the process forcing him to request an extension beyond the current Brexit date of the 31st of October from the EU.
Now it’s down to the EU to grant another extension if they don’t want to force a no deal Brexit, which they not only don’t want but don’t want to take the blame for. Whilst some such as European Council President Donald Tusk seem resigned to granting yet another extension, other such as France’s President Emmanuel Macron are spitting feathers and demanding that the Brexit saga be brought to a close with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. It’s easy to see the frustration growing in the EU with Parliaments one step forward and two steps backward.
The reality is that almost certainly an extension to the current Brexit date will be forthcoming, but the length of the extension is tricky for the EU to decide as it could be seen as interfering with British politics – too short and it’s putting pressure on Parliament to pass a deal, too long and it plays against the Governments plan to run a speedy timetable and get Brexit done and dusted at last.
Now it appears ever more likely there will be a general election before Christmas with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn having run out of excuses to delay. If a three month extension is granted, the chance of falling out of the EU without a deal will be delayed giving time for an election well before a potential January deadline and his only excuse for carrying on with the “not until no deal is off the table” delaying tactics would suggest that he’s still certain that Labour will lose.
The problem with a General Election for Labour is that Boris can go to the polls, replacing some of the dissenting MPs who have had the whip withdrawn (some of whom weren’t going to stand again anyway) with a deal that appears to be workable. With Labour’s position generally being that they’d negotiate a deal and then senior front benchers would campaign against it, it’s hard to see how they won’t haemorrhage support to either the Lib Dems or the Brexit party.
Naturally the Brexit party is also a concern for the Conservatives, but by coming back with a renegotiated deal Boris has pulled off the remarkable feat of leaving them toothless. All they can complain about the ‘entire UK leaving the EU and able to negotiate their own trade deals’ is that they would prefer a straight no deal and hardly anyone has an appetite for that.
The country and Parliament need to come to an understanding that it’s about the best deal we’re likely to get – There’s no point bemoaning the fact that the “best deal” would be remaining in the EU. Either the entire Brexit debacle needs to be cancelled or an acceptance that no deal is as good as staying so is this the best deal for leaving? It’s a bit like taking the decision to move house and the complaining the new house is too far to walk home from your favourite pub so you want to stay. Either move or don’t move, but you can’t have the best of both worlds.
Next steps, a waiting game for the EU to make a decision on another extension to the current Brexit date, probably followed by an immediate call for a general election with Labour at last having to fold and agree to it. And then we wait and see who wins. At this point the very worst situation which is actually quite likely to happen is the public returning a Parliament with a similar make up to today’s and the same stalemate with no one party having a majority able to actually govern.
Tamebay are hosting a Brexit webinar with GFS on the 20th of November, timed for after the current Brexit date and before Black Friday by which time we’ll have a clearer idea of what’s going on. Register now to reserve your place.