I am departing from our usual practice and publishing Brexit links separately and early. The press has reported on two developments, one of Corbyn saying he would back a second referendum (although note that there still appears not to be enough votes in Parliament to back even a motion calling for one; recall that People’s Vote called on Labour to scuttle a similar motion last month for that reason), the second a potential major reversal by May. I wanted to give readers the chance to discuss these developments separately, based both on analysis that may come before the Cabinet meeting this morning and any announcements coming out of it.
PM set to offer MPs guarantee of binding vote on whether to take no-deal Brexit off table for 29 March ITV. This is from Robert Peston. Bloomberg does have a similar story…with all of one source, that was re-reported by Reuters (as in with “Bloomberg” in the headline). But the Sun and the Daily Mail have similar reports.
Theresa May poised to open the way for delaying Brexit Financial Times. Key section:
Downing Street believes there is now a solid Commons majority against a no-deal exit, suggesting that if Tory Eurosceptics refused to back the deal next month then Brexit would be delayed by perhaps a couple of months….
As Europhile ministers met at Westminster to discuss tactics ahead of a Brexit vote in the Commons on Wednesday, one ally of the prime minister said: “The principal concern is to stop those people from resigning.”
The prime minister will set out her plans to avert the pro-European revolt at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with tensions riding high over her willingness to countenance a delay to Brexit.
For what it’s worth, the Torygraph has not deigned to promote these rumors. I see nothing at all related to this story on its landing page. This is the top portion:
Plus per Peston, May hasn’t made up her mind. If I were her, I’d wait for the referendum amendment backed by Corbyn to fail (see tweetstorm below, it doesn’t have the votes). Peston claims this would happen Tuesday AM, which I gather is in a ministers’ meeting.
.This move would also prove that her gambit of pushing back the meaningful vote to March 12 was a backfire, that it elicited more pushback than she could manage in the form of the threat of 23 ministerial resignations (the Sun has it at 15). Put this another way, this may be the showdown between the ERG and the Remainers. The Remainers claim they’d vote with Labour on Brexit, but where does the ERG go? A vote of no confidence?
Brexit: this historically dysfunctional process Richard North. North is less convinced as to the significance of the blowup. If I were to summarize his take, it’s that May might get the “no deal Brexit” commitment simply to mean “no March 29 crashout”. The EU has previously said it wouldn’t extend unless the UK had a “settled view” in Parliament, which it doesn’t, and gives a reason for asking for an extension. Even though some EU leader are making clear they’ve softened their position, quite a few others are making clear they’ve had it with the UK, which suggests at most they’d be amendable to only a short extension. For both the reasons of the much greater difficulty of getting a long extension (long = beyond the seating of the European Parliament on July 2, and more likely, two months as the outside from the UK side), May would likely present “short” as in a few weeks to two months.
Put it another way: no one in Parliament has come to grips with the fact that the only way to take a “no deal Brexit” off the table is to rescind the Article 50 notice. I see no willingness to do that, absent the cover of a second referendum, and per below (read the tweetstorm) not enough votes in Parliament for that either.
Consistent with our reading, the Sun presents the Remainer rebels’ ask as merely stopping a crash out on March 29, and not a lasting resolution to that threat:
Theresa May will today propose to Cabinet that she formally rules out a No Deal Brexit on March 29, opening the door to a delay. The decision will mean putting off Britain’s EU exit by weeks or months if MPs still haven’t passed a new divorce agreement in two weeks time.
Labour have committed to backing a second referendum amendment if their 'soft Brexit' plans are voted down by the Tory-DUP majority in Parliament. Let's break that down #SecondReferendum
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) February 25, 2019
Pharma industry steels itself for no-deal Brexit Financial Times
Hub in Belgium to keep NHS supplied in event of no-deal Brexit Guardian (Kevin W)
EU debates length of Brexit delay despite May vow to stay on time Financial Times. Views are all over the map. And a lot of hostility to an extension.
And you get an extra Antidote du jour for your trouble. This one from martha r seemed fitting:
May I introduce you to the majestic Snow Leopard. pic.twitter.com/G6sVA5i2Mz
— Welcome To Nature (@welcomet0nature) January 21, 2019