Martin Gibbs Dafferns Brexit Westminster

BREXIT No man’s land

Saturday 18 May. Do you remember just a few weeks ago, when BREXIT was the only thing in the news for months on end. Now, post Easter the silence has been deafening.

When they start moving, events move quickly in the world of BREXIT. I originally wrote this post last Monday and no sooner had it been proofed and posted, the game had moved on…

The government’s only solution to the BREXIT impasse remains to try and get Mrs May’s deal passed by Parliament and as the days and weeks pass, that appears an increasingly remote possibility, especially with negotiations with Labour officially called off after six weeks and with no agreement.

In what might be a final roll of the dice, Mrs May will bring the WAB (the Withdrawal Agreement Bill) back to parliament on 4 June, in another attempt to get it through. This will be the second time the WAB has been put before the Commons, following two further defeats for the deal as a whole (the WAB and the Political Declaration).

Not forgetting, that should Parliament pass the WAB in the first week of June, it will go to Committee Stage and will require two further passes through the Commons and Lords before it it enacted….. It isn’t going to happen is it.

If the WAB falls in the first week of June, it is almost certain that Mrs May will resign. One way or another, there will be a Conservative leadership election this summer.

Another big turning point will be the forthcoming European elections on 23 May, less than two weeks away. Both the Conservatives and Labour remain unclear on what their stance is with these elections and it appears probable that Farage’s new Brexit Party and the various Independents will benefit from a huge protest vote, on a small turnout.

It is worth noting that having had the best part of 2 weeks holiday at over Easter, Parliament adjourns for the Whitsun recess on 23 May (the day of the European Elections) and reconvenes on Tuesday 4 June, the week the WAB returns tube voted on.

Impasse has become stalemate. One can only hope that out of the ruins of electoral annihilation for the two main parties on 23 May, the door does not open for the UK’s Trump moment….

Changing leader will not change the arithmetic in Parliament, or for the Conservatives.

They may want a new leader and new Prime Minister, but it will be a poisoned chalice and in the immortal words of Sharleen Spiteri… Careful what you wish for…

Martin Gibbs is Dafferns Managing Partner. He likes talking about BREXIT . Any political views in this post are his own.