With any luck, the House of Commons will vote on Tuesday to reject Mrs May’s appalling withdrawal deal and bring into play votes on ‘no deal’ and extending Article 50 that a desperate May was panicked into promising to prevent mass resignations from her government. The delicious irony is that she will then be forced in person to vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ us leaving the EU on 29 March with ‘no deal’. Whichever way she votes, she is finished, well and truly hoisted – skewered – on her own petard.
If the withdrawal deal is rejected, the House will subsequently vote against ‘no deal’ and to extend Article 50. But what will Mrs May do? She cannot vote against ‘no deal’, and therefore against us leaving the EU, since she has time and again promised the nation that we will leave the EU on 29 March. She will be exposed both as a political failure and an utter fraud who has betrayed the nation’s trust. But nor can she vote for ‘no deal’ because her policy objective of exiting the EU in name only (BRINO), pursued with duplicitous fervour and the assistance of Mr Olly Robbins behind the backs of two Brexit secretaries, bolstered by depicting ‘no deal’ as ‘catastrophic’, would be shot to pieces. The extension of Article 50, which the House will vote for, will surely render her position untenable. Again, she will be exposed as a political failure. Either way, she is finished.
Brexiteers were supposed to vote for her deal. Brussels was supposed to offer last minute concessions, cosmetic, of course, but enough to allow Brexiteers to save face and support the deal. But by taking ‘no deal’ off the table and making it certain that we will plead for Article 50 to be extended – extended on the EU’s terms – she has comprehensively undermined her own negotiating position. Nothing would please Brussels more than to see Article 50 extended and Britain locked into the EU under the most abject terms, its terms. So, it has offered nothing.
Brexiteers were supposed to vote for her deal on the grounds that if they did not, we would never leave the EU – blackmail of the crudest kind. But some Brexiteers, including Martin Howe QC (Chairman of ‘Lawyers for Britain’, and member of the ERG’s ‘star chamber’ charged with scrutinising May’s latest offering), are now arguing that May’s deal is so awful that it would be better to extend Article 50 long-term so that we can make proper preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit and for customs checks on the Irish border without being hamstrung by a backstop. Moreover, the prospect of Mrs May negotiating our future trading relationship with the EU with our backs to the wall, with no leverage whatsoever, is too horrible to contemplate.
No-one knows where it will all end. But one thing is certain. The Conservative Party is finished if May continues as its leader. Now, there is every chance of getting rid of her. Brexiteers should vote against her withdrawal deal on Tuesday.