One cannot possibly predict Brexit events without knows what's in Theresa May's head. No one know except perhaps May and her husband. It's possible May does not even know herself. (She is still undecided).
Today Theresa May cleverly tabled a new motion that Common's Speaker John Bercow will allow MPs to vote on. May separated the Political Declaration from the Withdrawal Agreement.
According to the EU, UK has until tomorrow to agree to the withdrawal agreement. If it does so, then the UK gets an extension to May 22. If not, the extension expires on April 11.
I strongly suspect the EU and May conspired to create this condition. Regardless, here we are.
Labour challenged the ruling but Attorney General Geoffrey Cox chimed in:
"When the house listens to the rationale behind it, when it hears the full context of it, I’m sure the house will accept it is not only perfectly lawful, perfectly sensible and is designed to give this house an opportunity of availing itself of a right the European Union has given to us to avail ourselves of an extension until May 22."
"The view of the government is simply we could not let the time limit expire at 11pm tomorrow, of allowing this house the opportunity of availing itself of that right. It is perfectly reasonable and it is perfectly lawful."
This was a brilliant move. In effect, May forced the PMs into a accepting the withdrawal agreement or only having until April 11 instead of May 22 to decide what to do.
Note that this does not mandate a choice between Brexit and Remain. It takes no options off the table.
What it does do is ensure that May's deal remains on the table.
It might not pass. But many hard-core Brexiteers are no doubt worried. Some switched yesterday. More will accept this lifeline today.
Guardian Live Blog (Above Link)
Yesterday it looked like there was practically no chance Theresa May’s deal would pass at a third attempt, but that was before MPs were informed they were voting on the withdrawal agreement alone, which the government has cleverly “decoupled” from the political declaration to get it approved for a third vote by Speaker John Bercow without having to reopen negotiations with the EU.
The DUP has already shouted their umpteenth “NO!” into the room and won’t be voting for the withdrawal agreement unless a miracle happens.
But apparently there is still potential in winning the some hardline Tory Brexiters from the ERG over.
Chris Bryant MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, has issued the following statement:
Just when we thought the Brexit chaos could not get worse, we are now confronted by this appalling behaviour by the Government. Parliament passed a law requiring the Government to get the approval of the House of Commons for both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on our future relationship with the EU before Brexit could go ahead. Ministers are now flouting the spirit and perhaps the letter of that law.
Will This Pass? Does It Matter?
It's time for answers and I have them.
Q. Will this pass?
A. I don't know.
Q: Does it matter?
A: I don't know.
Q: Why might it not matter?
A. Because we do not know what is in Theresa May's head.
Eurointelligence massively contradicted itself in its commentary this morning.
- The indicative votes in the House of Commons produced no single endorsement, but opened a small window for compromise;
- Theresa May’s decision to set a conditional departure date would free her up to pursue a soft-Brexit deal;
- We note, however, that a no-deal Brexit remains firmly on the table as the votes also indicate that the UK will not meet the conditions for a long delay;
Those points are clear enough, and believable. However, Eurointelligence went on to say:
May’s willingness to pay the ultimate political price, and the results of the indicative votes, together point to a way forward: a compromise between her design of a future relationship and that of a softer Brexit.
There are now only three choices left, in descending order of probability: a compromise deal with some modifications of the political declaration, opening the way to a softer Brexit; a no-deal Brexit as a result of continued gridlock or an accident in the European Council; and finally May’s own deal.
The chances of May's deal are converging to zero. Now that alternatives are on the table, wavering Labour MPs are freed from the dilemma whether to support May. May’s deal can only pass if she gets the Tory/DUP group behind her. Not much of a chance of that now.
Somehow a small window turns into the lead candidate while May's deal now has no chance.
I expect more amusement tomorrow morning from Eurointelligence tomorrow.
Today, Eurointelligence tried to be on both sides of the fence simultaneously. No matter what happens it can declare it got the setup correct.
May's Deal Not Off the Table
May's deal is not off the table unless she does one of two things:
- Takes it off the table
- Says she will honor the results of the indicative vote
She has not done either of those two things. He last statement was that she might not honor the indicative vote.
There is no reason to doubt that statement.
- State she will honor the indicative vote (extremely unlikely)
- State she will back a custom's arrangement (extremely unlikely)
- Threaten to back no-deal (possible but unlikely)
- Threaten again to not honor the indicative vote (very likely)
- Threaten to resign immediately, not on May 22, if her deal is not passed (somewhat to very likely. What's in her head?)
For now, number 4 is the most likely and number 4 does not rule out number 5 later.
My Deal or Boris Johnson
Please consider option number 5.
If she will not honor an indicative vote, she can give one final chance for her deal with the believable threat of option 5.
If she does what I propose she might, then the choice will be between her deal and a no-deal Brexit.
This would give Remainers the choice of her deal or risk someone like Boris Johnson.
If May would rather have a customs union, then a custom's union it will be, assuming she is unwilling to do what I propose.
Don't Underestimate a Determined PM
Never underestimate the ability of a Prime Minister to delay, threaten, bribe, or ignore the will of the people or MPs to get what the PM wants.
May has without a doubt proven that. And we still do not know what is in her head.
Leadership Campaign Underway
Of the leading candidates, only a couple supports remain.
The Telegraph asks Theresa May quits: Who will be the next Prime Minister?
- Boris Johnson, a hard Brexiteer is the leading candidate.
- Michael Gove, who suppots Brexit but backed May's deal is the second leading candidate.
- David Davis is a long shot but he is a hard Brexiteer.
- David Lidington is a Remainer. He has almost no chance no matter what the odds suggest.
- Dominic Raab is a hard Brexiteer.
- Amber Rudd is a staunch Remainer. She has almost no chance no matter what the odds suggest.
- Jeremy Hunt voted Remain. However, he has changed his tune. Some question his sincerity, as do I.
Hunt Kicks Off Campaign
Today Hunt openly kicked off his leadership campaign in Parliament.
He says that he would never support a second referendum and that, although he voted remain in 2016, he would now vote leave. Asked why, he says: "To respect the outcome of the last referendum. The way to heal divisions is not to try and unpick a result, we have to make a success of Brexit, bring the country together."
What's in May's Head?
Again, I do not know. No one else does either except perhaps herself.
We do know she is one amazingly stubborn person.
Until proven otherwise, I suspect that even if she would rather have a soft deal than Boris Johnson, she might view her odds as high enough to take that risk.
Risk Boris Johnson or May's Deal
I propose something like the following: "OK, MPs, here's your choice: Risk Boris Johnson or accept my deal."
"I will resign immediately either way because a custom's union does not honor the referendum and it will not happen with me in charge."
OK MPs, How do you vote?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock