If Brexit is delayed the wrong people will be clapping and our EU exit may never happen at all…
LAST night the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was defeated by a smaller – but still thumping – majority of nearly 150.
With Brexit due in just over two weeks, the question is whether we should remove the option of leaving with No Deal on March 29.
One thing is certain. If we say we will never, ever leave without a deal, the EU would know that they can stop Brexit in its tracks by refusing to agree a deal with us.
Or, if they’re feeling subtle, by offering a bad deal they know Parliament will turn down.
Either way, they’d know we’d blink. Faced with those options, we couldn’t take either of them. We would have no choice. We’d have to go cap in hand and beg the EU to delay the day we leave.
Some people think that would be fine. According to them, Parliament would “take charge” and find a new, better, more democratic solution. Peace would break out and, before you know it, we’d all be sitting round the campfire holding hands and singing kum-ba-yah.
Except that Parliament has shown repeatedly that MPs are brilliant at deciding what they don’t like, but terrible at agreeing on what they do.
The chances of finding a previously unnoticed solution down the back of the Parliamentary sofa are somewhere between nil and zero. There’s only one option which Parliament has ever supported – the Prime Minister’s deal with a change to the Irish backstop.
Nothing else works.
So what happens when the extra time we’d asked for runs out? We’d have delayed Brexit to search for a better deal, but we wouldn’t have one. And nor could we leave without one either. What then?
The only option would be another temporary delay. And then, when it ran out, another one. And another. And another. In the end, the temporary extensions would become permanent. We’d have built an enormous elephant trap for ourselves, and there’d be no way to climb out. We’d never leave.
As a former Remainer who believes we’ve got a democratic duty to deliver Brexit, I won’t be supporting proposals to take a World Trade Organisation, No Deal Brexit off the table.
Not because I like the idea of No Deal, or want it to happen – the Prime Minister’s deal with an amended Irish backstop would be far better. But because too many of the people who are clapping loudest at the idea of ruling out No Deal are the ones who want to stop Brexit completely.
The rest of us should realise what ruling out No Deal would lead to, and refuse to follow them.