Great drama in the 1922 Committee. However, the fundamentals have not changed. The UK and EU cannot separate without a deal. However, by the very nature of the relationship, any deal acceptable to the UK would harm the EU and vice versa. Ergo, there will be no such deal. It also remains the case that the Article 50 process will have to be suspended by the EU or abandoned by the UK. But pressure is building as time runs out. The only immediate questions are, how will the Article 50 process be interrupted (see my last blog), by whom and on what basis.
It must remain likely that Mrs May will not get her deal through Parliament. At that stage she will have ‘nowhere to go’ and will have to change direction or resign. She, or whoever takes her place, will have to explain why and how they will seek to interrupt Article 50 and what they would do next. Hence, it can be presumed that she, or those seeking to replace her, will declare themselves to be in favour of either a hard crash-out Brexit, a soft Norwegian style Brexit or a new referendum or of an open-minded ‘rethink’. However, as they must in any event remove the Article 50 time-limit, and would not have a majority in Parliament to pursue their preferred way forward, they would likely all call for a “Great Debate” before deciding whether and, if so, how to leave the EU. Because of the current deadlock in Parliament, that debate would likely see us through to the next General Election, most likely in 2022. Meanwhile, we would have remained paid up and participating members of the EU (including taking part in the EU elections next year) and we can but hope that during those years the long grass that had grown thick around the whole issue since 1975 would have sprung up again.