Brexit minus three weeks (maybe)

A preview of key Brexit votes in the House of Commons from March 12-14, on a second referendum, Theresa May’s deal, a no-deal, and a Brexit extension. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On March 12, Theresa May will attempt to get her deal approved by the Commons for the first time since the crushing 432 to 202 defeat on January 15.  An amendment, now officially supported by Labour, would allow May’s deal to pass, conditional on a second referendum occurring with Remain and May’s deal as the options.  Although a second referendum is passionately supported by many MPs who want to Remain, the amendment is likely to lose by a substantial margin.  As commentator Stephen Bush wrote in the I, there are too many Labour MPs who will oppose a second referendum even with official Labour support.  Some Conservative MPs who favour a soft Brexit also oppose a second referendum.

The vote on May’s deal is likely to fail by a substantial margin, though not as badly as the first defeat.  The Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) had demanded changes to limit the contentious Northern Ireland “backstop” to secure their support.  However, negotiations between the European Union and UK appear to have broken down.  With no amendment to the backstop, May is likely to lose most of the 118 Conservative MPs who voted against the original deal, and the ten DUP MPs.  Only three Labour MPs backed May’s deal in January; more are expected to support the deal this time, but not enough to affect the result.

If May’s deal fails, the Commons will vote on whether Britain should leave without a deal on March 13.  Even if the Conservatives whip in favour of no-deal, this is very likely to be defeated.  If the Conservatives allow a free vote for their MPs, it will be interesting to see how many vote in favour of a no-deal Brexit.

If May’s deal and no-deal both fail, a vote on extending Brexit beyond the March 29 exit date will be held on March 14.  Given the concern among moderate Conservative MPs that forced May to offer this extension vote last week, this vote is likely to pass, even if the Conservatives whip against.

But even if the Commons approves a Brexit delay, it must also be approved unanimously by the 27 EU nations – and last week France and Spain said they would only approve an extension with conditions.  May would only ask for a short extension.  If it were granted, June 30 would be the new deadline for the Commons to pass a deal, as European elections will be held in late May.  Without UK participation in those elections, Britain will probably not be able to continue as an EU member after the new EU parliament begins its term on July 1.  A delay to Brexit is likely to result in another cliff edge in late June.

If a no-deal Brexit is to be avoided, one of two things must happen by March 29 or late June.  Either a large number of Conservative MPs must vote for either Jeremy Corbyn’s favoured customs union or a second referendum, or a large number of Labour MPs must vote for May’s deal.  Labour cannot hope to get its customs union through without Conservative support due to opposition from passionate second referendum advocates.  Large support from one party for the other party’s proposal would likely be damaging for that party.  A no-deal Brexit is likely to damage the Conservatives.  Labour is likely to win politically if there is a no-deal Brexit or a customs union with Conservative support, but lose if May’s deal gets through on Labour support.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

89 comments on “Brexit minus three weeks (maybe)”

  1. What a frickin’ mess. Who knew that unscrambling an egg would be so hard? Hopefully the ongoing omnishambles will give cause to those vote impulsively without regard to consequences (though I doubt it).

    Given the utter lack of any plan for leaving the EU, and given the British Parliament’s utter incapacity for dealing with this matter in any sort of coherent or competent fashion, surely the only sensible approach is another referendum. When the politics fails, shouldn’t we send it back to the people?

    Demographics would probably mean that Remain would win any putative vote (the Leave vote skewed old in 2016, and a good many of those voters will have died over the last few years), which is, frankly, now the only way to resolve this mess. But no one significant has really emerged as a voice of reason throughout this rolling clusterfuck, so it’s probably hoping against hope for something to turn up now.

  2. So what happens if the EU decides not to extend the deadline? I assume article 50 is still binding. Could they just kick the UK out?

    Or even worse. What if another referendum confirms the leave vote? They still have to work out the Ireland problem.

  3. I mentioned this before on the main thread.

    There is a logical problem in that series of votes.

    If, on March 13 they vote against Brexit with no deal, that logically excludes not having a delay.

    In other words, if they explicitly say no to a no deal Brexit, every other option involves applying for a delay. So why the vote on March 14? It seems redundant. Shouldn’t this vote be about how to use a delay? In other words shouldn’t this vote on March 14 be explicitly between renegotiate and new referendum (both involve delay).

  4. Sorry. I missed the new thread on Brexit, and happily posted on the previous one all day. Never mind. I will review and copy any still relevant in the morning.

  5. Late Riser

    Yes that strange experience of wondering where everyone has gone!

    Interesting posts – would be useful here now that other thread is so far back. I think Labour started realising they were going to carry the can for a no-deal Brexit just as much as the Tories, and they have shifted gears a bit to avoid that.

    It truly is a schemozzle. (Can you use Yiddish words in a certain UK Party?)

  6. (from previous thread, Thursday)
    The headline: “Most EU treaties won’t be replicated in UK by 29 March, says minister”
    The article: A brief description of some of the treaties that have been achieved, and an ominous quote, “…some countries were holding out to see whether Britain crashed out of the EU or not before coming to their decision…” Ominous because it reflects Britain’s weak position and because it hints at what a hard Brexit means.
    Missing: The treaties that haven’t yet been replaced, and are unlikely to be replaced.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/07/most-treaties-not-ready-for-uk-being-outside-eu-admits-brexit-minister

  7. (from previous thread, Friday)
    Rocket Rocket @ #1258 Friday, March 8th, 2019 – 11:17 pm

    Good Brexit summary diagram in the Daily Mail.

    They say that May is expected to lose that first vote by around 100 votes.

    <a href="” rel=”nofollow”>” rel=”nofollow”>

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6784619/May-urges-EU-leaders-help-persuade-MPs-Brexit-deal.html

    Copied from the main thread. (Thanks RR.) This maps closely to the 8 step “framework”, with 3 differences.
    * Dates are British not Australian East Coast, which is fair enough. It is their process.
    * There are no entries for the matching EU decisions that are required. In other words the EU are assumed to be compliant with any decisions by the UK.
    * The steps following the third vote on March 14 (March 15, AEST) ends with the options: YES[Delayed Brexit] or NO[Maybe 2nd referendum]. In the 8 step framework I have assumed the equivalent options are: YES[Delayed Brexit] or NO[Hard Brexit]. I’m not sure why it’s different, but hopefully I’ll work it out.

  8. (from previous thread, Saturday)
    I thought I’d post an update on “Brexit in 8 Steps”. The percentages are my guess as to the outcome of any step, to allow me to calculate the overall probability for each of the three outcomes: no-Brexit, soft-Brexit, or hard-Brexit.

    Step 1: Tuesday March 12
    (Wednesday 13th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on May’s Deal w/ Extension
    (Labor wanted a guaranteed Referendum to abstain)
    20% * YES -> Step 2
    80% * NO –> Step 4

    Step 2:
    EU parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 3
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 3:
    UK Referendum decides on May’s Deal versus Remain
    50% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    50% * Remain -> No Brexit

    Step 4: Wednesday 13th
    (Thursday 14th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Hard Brexit
    10% * YES -> Hard Brexit
    90% * No –> Step 5

    Step 5: Thursday 14th
    (Friday 15th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 6
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 6:
    EU parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 7
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 7:
    UK parliament votes to hold a Referendum
    80% * YES -> Step 8
    20% * No –> Hard Brexit

    Step 8:
    UK Referendum decides “something”
    20% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    80% * Remain -> No Brexit

    Which to the nearest 10% gives
    50% no-Brexit
    30% soft-Brexit
    20% hard-Brexit

  9. (from previous thread, Saturday. Last one.)
    Labour has adjusted its tactics.

    Labour amendment supporting second referendum put on hold

    Campaigners for a second referendum believe they can only a win a majority in the Commons if it is seen as the sole option to break the deadlock preventing any Brexit deal passing through parliament.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/09/labour-amendment-supporting-second-referendum-put-on-hold
    Uncertainty continues. I think it means the first vote (for a Soft Brexit) will likely fail as will the one after (for a Hard Brexit). Reducing the probability that May’s deal is accepted on Wednesday (Aus time) makes overall outcome probabilities look like this.
    50% no-Brexit
    25% soft-Brexit
    25% hard-Brexit
    In other words a hard Brexit becomes slightly more likely at the expense of a soft Brexit, but No Brexit stays a 50% chance. So in effect no real change.

    (1) Maybe Labour is just accepting the slightly greater risk of a hard Brexit to save face.

    (2) Labour wants May to own this if it goes wrong.

    Labour sources said the party wanted to have a “clean vote” on May’s deal on Tuesday, and that any amendment the party puts down in the name of Jeremy Corbyn would be designed “not to get in the way”.

    (3) Also the brinkmanship continues.

    “Our compromise deal will be pushed when we judge other options have been exhausted and MPs are ready for compromise and a creative way out of this mess,”

  10. If I might presume to summarise Adrian Beaumont’s description above, it seems that the current process is driven by the desire by everyone to avoid a no deal (Hard) Brexit. Unfortunately though, neither the Conservatives or Labour want to blink (compromise) first because it will weaken them politically. So currently the outcome is highly uncertain.

    I’m not in Britain so I have no feel for the mood there, but whatever happens, I expect that trust in the political process has been badly eroded, which will only make it harder to cope with the continuing consequences.

  11. Late Riser

    I was maybe going to be in the UK for work through the Brexit time – was sort of looking forward to it (as long as there weren’t riots and zombies!). In the end it fell through, just as it was seeming more likley that there would be some delay.

    I was there just before the 2015 election, and it was a fascinating experience. Maybe if Brexit is delayed by a few months I could wangle it again.

    It is like one of those card games where no-one wants to be left with the “bad” card – in this case a no-deal Brexit. Any other possibility or temporary alliance is preferable to being landed with the blame if (when) it all goes pear-shaped.

  12. Rocket Rocket

    I like your analogy to that card game, a favourite in my youth. Other similar games for children include musical chairs, pass the parcel, dodge ball, and the new Brexit themed “After You”.

  13. Boerwar

    I had a feeling that young adults were driving the People’s Vote campaign, considering they got quite pissed off that older generations voted for Brexit. Therefore; the article you posted confirms this suspicion I had.

    Personally I think holding a People’s Vote is terrible idea. Because it is going to be even more divisive than the Brexit campaign was, even if it means the UK stays in the European Union. However the chances are good this might happen, but a sizable minority who are committed Brexiters will see this is a betrayal.

    If I were living in Britain, I would have argued for remaining in the European Union, along with trying to reform it to make it more democratic. However I would have respected the result of the Brexit referendum, along with arguing ideally for a Norway-plus deal or a soft Brexit.

  14. The situation in Ireland is the root cause of the problems with any soft Brexit, let alone a hard Brexit. Ireland is divided and the larger part is in the EU to stay. The smaller part is in the UK, to stay. There will have to be a customs border between the EU and all non-EU nations. Installing a border to divide Ireland will restart the Troubles. Calling it a temporary backstop is disingenuous. Until a solution is found that satisfies the Irish there will be no consensus possible. I don’t understand why this has not been the prime focus of the past 2 years.

    Well actually I do, since the disastrous election result for the Conservatives needing support from the DUP to govern.

  15. Late Riser

    It is bizarre. During the Brexit plebiscite campaign there was lots of talk about Scotland, and how Scots wanted to stay in the EU and might then vote to leave the UK if the UK exited the EU.

    And yet there was little to no discussion about Ireland – it just never seemed to come up as an issue, even though as you say it is now the absolute ‘stopping point’ for any Brexit deal, much more so than any possible Scottish Independence referendum somewhere down the track.

  16. Tristo, what is all this BS about “respecting” the result of the referendum? You might as well say we should respect the results of the general election of (insert your favourite year) forever. We have elections every few years to reflect (indeed, “respect”) the fact that people change their minds from time to time. It seems quite likely that the majority of the people of the (ha ha) “United” Kingdom has now changed its collective mind – but thanks to the crazy thinking of the majority of MPs (from both sides of the House) it seems that they are not going to be asked. They really should be asked again.

  17. Rumours are May is going to pull the vote (6-8am tomorrow Eastern Australian Summer Time)

    If she does it may well be her last decision as PM.

    The Conservative MP Nick Boles, who has been leading efforts in the Commons to allow MPs to vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit, has posted a thread on Twitter saying Theresa May will have lost the confidence of the Commons if she goes back on the promises she made about this week’s votes.
    ..
    Nick Boles MP
    @NickBoles
    I am sure that the Prime Minister will honour these three commitments. If she doesn’t she will forfeit the confidence of the House of Commons.

  18. And the ever-helpful David Cameron

    ITV News
    (@itvnews)
    Former prime minister David Cameron has told ITV News he supports Theresa May, adding: ‘I don’t think no-deal is a good idea at all’

  19. Maybe I’m becoming sensitised to the problems, but I find this report in the Guardian alarming. It paints an uneasy picture of a fragile Ireland, existentially threatened by Brexit and ineptitude.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/11/in-need-of-a-wizard-northern-ireland-gets-blundering-bradley

    Analysts say the sharpening of identity politics, Irishness versus Britishness, is an ominous reversal for the 1998 Good Friday agreement which brokered peace and helped both identities feel at home in Northern Ireland.

    A cauldron of grievances and mistrust, a society grappling with historical and existential choices, a party wielding unprecedented leverage

  20. There’s a second report in The Guardian on the damage done to the Good Friday peace by the Brexit process, this time looking at shared policing. The report describes some of the issues and recent disagreements within the police and ends with

    Whatever the balance of blame, neither policing nor peace are in good shape as we lurch towards the possibility of a hard border once again in Ireland.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/11/policing-crisis-northern-ireland-good-friday-agreement-psni-brexit

    I get a sense of hopelessness.

  21. In my excitement about this big political week I got my days wrong – looked over to The Guardian to see if Vote number one had happenede and of course it is tomorrow morining!

    Just as well when the headline was
    “Theresa May dashes to Strasbourg in bid for Brexit compromise”
    I thought she had fled the country!

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/11/brexit-meaningful-vote-will-go-ahead-theresa-may-says

    It is a bit like asking for an ‘extension’ on your school/uni assignment, that you have only known about for TWO YEARS!

  22. The Irish Times, with help from Ipsos/MRBI, has done something really really radical – they have asked the people of Northern Ireland (well, a sample of them, size unspecified) what they want! Of course the first preference of the majority (67 per cent) is “a very soft Brexit where the UK stays in the EU single market and the customs union to avoid the need for checks anywhere.”

    But if they can’t get that, “59 per cent say they want a special arrangement for Northern Ireland for no checks on the Border – even if it means some checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and the North”. Ie, the “border” in the Irish Sea. (“Checks” of course may well include the payment of customs duties, at whatever level is eventually imposed.)

    From what I’ve read, the EU would be perfectly happy with that. So IF Teresa reads that and IF she pays any attention to it, and IF she’s flexible enough* to suggest a fairly dramatic last-minute change, that’s the obvious solution. DUP would hate it, but the poll says only 13% of the sample are happy with the way the DUP is handling the issue.
    *My son says “Flexible? But she’s a Conservative!” I think he’s identified the fundamental problem.

    For details see https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/irish-times-poll-northern-ireland-voters-do-not-want-dup-tory-brexit-1.3818264

  23. The DUP, like the Lib-Dems before them, may end up carrying the can for the Tories’ failings at the next election. I had heard about this Irish Sea “border” plan before and it certainly sounds preferable to a hard border between north and south. I understand that more goods come to Northern Ireland from Eire than across the Irish Sea.

    Another strange anomaly is the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. It is not part of the UK; it is a self-governing dependent territory of the Crown. It is also not part of the EU, but has a unique relationship to deal with the fact that it trades freely with the UK.

    https://www.isleofman.com/about-the-isle-of-man/the-eu-and-oecd/

    Interesting complexities for both the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

    https://www.gov.im/about-the-government/departments/cabinet-office/brexit-what-next-for-the-isle-of-man/

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-46348847

  24. Jack Aranda

    May should be in N.I. not Brussels untying this knot. And to push that analogy (rope), it is too late to carefully unthread it at this stage, so boldly cutting the knot seems still to me the likely outcome.

    Everything falls. The Irish get the pointy end. Again.

  25. A question about human behaviour. Within hours of the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 I was reading a story of the man who missed the flight. Here is the ABC’s take on that story.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/ethiopian-airlines-737-max-8-passenger-missed-flight-by-minutes/10891604
    I have not yet heard or read anything about people who missed other flights, arrived early, switched at at the last minute, or for any other unforeseen reason ended up on the one that crashed. Why is that? I am not really interested in that type of news. But I am curious why we seem to focus on the one and not the other.

  26. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s advice – “risk of remaining in backstop reduced but not eliminated”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/12/brexit-cox-revised-deal-reduces-risks-of-being-trapped-in-backstocox-risk-of-remaining-in-backstop-reduced-but-not-eliminated

    I think this possibly tips the scales just against May, unless the hard-line Brexiteers now panic and take her deal because they sense without it Brexit may never happen.

    Can only see a dozen or so Labour defectors.

    If May loses this vote – the EU may not offer any further change anyway, which will probably mean either a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit at all.

  27. From The Guardian’s continuous coverage

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/mar/12/brexit-mps-vote-theresa-may-backstop-deal-jeremy-corbyn-politics-live

    Here is another legal opinion saying that what was agreed last night does not significantly alter the impact of the backstop. It is from the law professor Philippe Sands and Sir David Edward QC.
    (document)
    Phillipe Sands twitter
    My Note with Sir David Edward QC on #Backstop, Instrument, Jt Declaration & Unilateral Declaration “Backstop is no more or less temporary today than it was when the Attorney General offered his advice.”

    May’s deal is going down I think.

  28. A lot of talk about another election.
    Labour is badly behind in the polls but who knows what could be thrown up.
    Everything seems like a bad choice.

    Also talk the DUP will not support the deal.

  29. May’s deal looks doomed – the DUP with their ten MPs have come out against it, as have the hard-line Brexit Tories the unusually-named ERG (European Research Group) with about 100. Labour is only expecting 10-20 to vote for it. So she lost first time around 432-202.

    196 Conservative MPs, 3 Labour MPs and 3 independent MPs supported the deal.

    Voting against the deal were 118 Conservative MPs, 248 Labour MPs, all 35 SNP MPs, all 11 Liberal Democrat MPs, all 10 DUP MPs, all 4 Plaid Cymru MPs, the sole Green MP, and 5 independent MPs.

    Without a massive Labour defection she is never going to get the 120 or so needed to cross over.

    Of course if she doesn’t even hold the vote (or the next two) she will likely lose her job as PM.

  30. B.S. Fairman

    No-one wants the PM job until something is settled. If there is a no-deal Brexit, or maybe even if there is a two-month delay, May will be gone and Boris will come to the rescue!

    note to self- if Boris Johnson is your saviour, you seriously need to consider not being saved.

  31. After this morning’s vote this is the new set of probabilities for the “Brexit in 8 Steps”, adjusted to eliminate the first three of those steps. I am also showing the chance a step will be reached. As before the percentages are my guess as to the outcome of any step, to and the aim is to calculate the overall probability for each of the three possible outcomes: no-Brexit, soft-Brexit, or hard-Brexit.

    Please let me know if I should change the probabilities for the various remaining YES/NO decisions.

    But the result is essentially unchanged, since the probability for today’s vote had already been set at 10% YES, and the vote today merely changes that to 0% YES.

    Summary:
    50% no-Brexit
    25% soft-Brexit
    25% hard-Brexit

    Details…
    100% reach Step 1: Tuesday March 12
    (Wednesday 13th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on May’s Deal w/ Extension
    (Labor wanted a guaranteed Referendum to abstain)
    0% * YES -> Step 2
    100% * NO –> Step 4

    0% reach Step 2:
    EU leaders vote on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 3
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    0% reach Step 3:
    UK Referendum decides on May’s Deal versus Remain
    50% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    50% * Remain -> No Brexit

    100% reach Step 4: Wednesday 13th
    (Thursday 14th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Hard Brexit
    10% * YES -> Hard Brexit
    90% * No –> Step 5

    90% reach Step 5: Thursday 14th
    (Friday 15th, 6-8am in Eastern Australia)
    UK parliament votes on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 6
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    81% reach Step 6:
    EU leaders vote on Extension
    90% * YES -> Step 7
    10% * No –> Hard Brexit

    73% reach Step 7:
    UK parliament votes to hold a Referendum
    80% * YES -> Step 8
    20% * No –> Hard Brexit

    58% reach Step 8:
    UK Referendum decides “something”
    20% * May’s Deal -> Soft Brexit
    80% * Remain -> No Brexit

  32. Theresa May’s Brexit ploy is either political genius or a massive miscalculation

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-13/theresa-may-brexit-ploy-political-genius-or-miscalculation/10895206

    Translation: I have no idea what she’s doing. Who the f*** knows? But I have to write something.

    To my mind, every time a Soft Brexit is rejected (in whatever form it takes or for whatever ‘political reasons’ occur) it makes it more and more likely that the final choice will be between Hard Brexit or No Brexit.

  33. L R,

    I like your “8 steps” calculation.

    I think after all this they will end up remain.

    I can’t see the parliament voting for hard Brexit, and I can’t see an *actual “leave” proposition winning a referendum.

    (*Rather than the all things to all people 1 finger salute of whatever “leave” meant in the first.)

  34. Question

    Thanks. Taking my own opinion back to that calculation, that each decision point will have an aversion to a soft Brexit, I get this revised probability, at the current state of uncertainty.
    60% Remain
    10% Soft Brexit
    30% Hard Brexit

    I’ve read that May was originally a proponent for Remain.

  35. Late Riser, I think you’re overestimating the Yes probabilities in Steps 6 & 7. France and Spain want a clear direction to extend Brexit. Spain has its election on April 28, so they won’t want to be friendly to the Brits given Gibraltor issue.

    Too many MPs don’t want a referendum; that’s why it was withdrawn this week. And if a referendum had a choice between May’s Deal and Remain, without a no-deal option, hard Leavers would go utterly ballistic.

  36. Too many MPs don’t want a referendum; that’s why it was withdrawn this week. And if a referendum had a choice between May’s Deal and Remain, without a no-deal option, hard Leavers would go utterly ballistic.

    They could have a “constitutional convention” to decide the leave side of the referendum question. 🙂

  37. Adrian Beaumont @ #46 Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 – 10:07 am

    Late Riser, I think you’re overestimating the Yes probabilities in Steps 6 & 7. France and Spain want a clear direction to extend Brexit. Spain has its election on April 28, so they won’t want to be friendly to the Brits given Gibraltor issue.

    Too many MPs don’t want a referendum; that’s why it was withdrawn this week. And if a referendum had a choice between May’s Deal and Remain, without a no-deal option, hard Leavers would go utterly ballistic.

    Thanks.

    Reducing the EU leaders agreeing to an extension to 50% and the UK voting to hold a Referendum to 50% flips the outcomes to
    20% Remain
    20% Soft
    60% Hard

    A Hard Brexit becomes increasingly likely the more you reduce either of those.

  38. Question, that’s the ‘fun’ part I suppose. Right now Hard Brexit is on the table for a decision. Both the UK Parliament and all 27 EU Leaders have to reject it. In order that the second of these happens the UK will need to offer the EU27 both a reason (e.g. UK does not want a hard brexit) and a believable process (ie we have another solution). At the moment I can see the first of those (the UK vote will have proven it) but not the second.

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