London: There are endless metaphors, none of them flattering, for the state of UK’s paralysed parliament and Brexit negotiations, but the fact is nobody knows what comes next. Everything depends on something else.
Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed second time around in the Commons by 30 votes; it can be said in Johnson’s favour that he has got it further than Theresa May’s withdrawal agreements. But its acceptance in some way disqualifies the concept of no deal. As usual it was one step forward and two steps back because a majority of MP’s rejected the government’s implementation timetable. The reason given is the need for more time for scrutiny and debate, but in reality this blocks Johnson promised 31st October Brexit day.
All the recently discovered rules and procedural obstructions that have prevented Brexit, or Bregsit as it is so frequently pronounced, seem like an orchestrated effort to remain permanently in the EU.
Briefly the Prime Minister said he would withdraw the Bill and legislation. Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn held discussions. Both want a general election, but they cannot agree on the timing. Is it the chicken (election) or the egg (extension) first?
Johnson is offering MPs more time for scrutiny until 6 November if Labour passes his motion for an election on 12 December; some Conservative MPs are lukewarm about a winter election just before Christmas.
Since the Benn Act required Johnson to request an extension, which was unconventionally executed by sending three contradictory letters, Johnson has now been forced to accept the possibility of an extension. The EU27 have now offered this third extension but without any length of time indication until next week, when they know if there will be an election or not. The Government say they will repeat the motion for an election every day until an election is called.
The choice for MP’s boils down to stick with Johnson and “Get Brexit done” or risk Corbyn who would dither around trying to reopen negotiations, extend the extension and then have a peoples/confirmatory vote, this would feel like a life sentence to most Leavers.
This week Johnson topped the YouGov voting intention tracker for Prime Minister versus Jeremy Corbyn by 43% -20%, and Conservatives beat Labour 37%-22%. Johnson needs a decent majority to remain in No10 for the next five years, when Brexit is accomplished Remain and Leave become irrelevant and parliament can get on with delivering the work outlined in The Queens Speech/Prime Minister’s future agenda which was passed by 16 votes on Thursday.