Theresa May appeared on the Andrew Marr programme and was asked what she’d do if she lost the forthcoming meaningful vote. Her reply was that the UK would be in uncharted territory.
But what options will be available to the Prime Minister the morning after losing the vote? There are five options available – 1. No Deal, 2. Renegotiate with EU, 3. EUReferendum re-run, 4. General Election or 5. Vote of No Confidence.
It would take a parliamentary vote of no confidence in order to force Theresa May to stand down. That of course would lead to a General Election and the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn forming a government perhaps with the support of the SNP. The thought of a Corbyn government all but guarantees Tory MPs and the DUP would support May.
Theresa May will not call a snap general election for the same reason. Thus, options 5 and 4 can be dismissed.
What of a re-run of the EU Referendum? Neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Theresa May will push for a second In/Out referendum. Corbyn desperately wants Brexit and May knows that to call a 2nd vote would lead to recriminations against her and her party by angry voters. It would cause a rift within the Conservative party so great that it could fragment.
Could a de-facto 2nd EURef vote be held? One presented as a vote on the deal [i.e. No Deal … Yes or No?] that could be interpreted as a vote to cancel Brexit if No Deal was rejected? Perhaps, but any such sleight of hand after the event would lead to the same recriminations mentioned above.
What if May decided to by-pass the House of Commons and ask the public to back or reject her deal. It would still require Commons’ approval to hold such a vote. Then there would be the inevitable stalemate as MPs failed to reach agreement on the question asked.
Option 3, another EU referendum, can thus be ruled out.
What about a renegotiation with the EU? Quite a few commentators are placing great stock in amended wording from the EU 27 over the Northern Irish backstop. May could then present a modified version of her deal to MPs. But who’s going to back it?
The short answer is not enough of the Commons, regardless of what wording she manages to amend. The DUP won’t back it nor will hard Brexiteers from her own party. The SNP, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems will likewise reject it.
What of Corbyn? Jeremy Corbyn will reject whatever deal May puts before the House of Commons, as will most of his MPs. There is simply no way Corbyn wants to be labelled as the Labour leader who facilitated a Tory Brexit plan … regardless of the terms of the agreement.
So what does Corbyn want? Jeremy Corbyn wants Brexit to go ahead and for the Tories to own it. That’s it. It’s why option 4, renegotiation, will also change nothing.
Jeremy Corbyn is happy to stall until March 29th. If nothing happens to stop Brexit by March 29th then the UK leaves the European Union by default … with no deal. This is why option 5, No Deal, is now the most likely scenario.
But why would Corbyn allow this? Simple. No Deal is a win-win for Corbyn. No Deal would leave a mess that would weaken May to the point even a Corbyn led Labour party couldn’t fail to capitalise. Corbyn gets Brexit and the best chance he’ll ever get to become PM.
The only way a No Deal can be prevented is if the EU 27 agree to halt Article 50. Even then all they would be doing would be delaying the inevitable and handing the UK another period of uncertainty and chaos. Would May accept the loss of face by pleading for such a delay?
A No Deal Brexit or indefinite delay. Either would see support for Scottish independence grow.
Submitted by an Indyref2 reader