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Leader: Do not bet against Theresa May getting her way with Brexit

I had once hoped that by now, as we approach the end of 2018, our future outside the EU would have been much clearer.


Abi   Kay

Abi   Kay

But after a year of political drama, seemingly only punctuated by those all-too-frequent parliamentary holidays, things are still up in the air.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Prime Minister survived a challenge to her leadership from her own backbenchers, but the little authority she had was severely diminished and all the commotion really did not change a thing.

 

In the new year, we will be back to square one, with the same unpopular Withdrawal Agreement.

 

So, what next? It seems to me there are four possible options.

 

The first is an increased potential for no deal, as the clock runs down to March 29, 2019.

 

The second is that by luck, magic or bloody- mindedness on the part of Number 10, the Prime Minister’s deal squeaks through a House of Commons vote after further assurances from the EU on the temporary nature of the dreaded backstop.


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The third possible outcome is that MPs vote the deal down and the PM resigns, leaving a new Tory leader to take over, extend the Article 50 process and attempt a renegotiation with the EU.

 

And the fourth option is a second referendum.

 

But where do I think we will end up? If I had to place a bet, I would probably put a few quid on option two – the PM’s deal squeaking through.

 

Delaying the vote until January means MPs will be even more aware of the limited time available to reach a new settlement.

 

For remainers, the fear of no deal will nudge a lot of them towards May’s agreement. For leavers, the fear of losing Brexit through a second referendum is likely to mean a bunch will hold their noses and back the deal, with some last-minute concession from the EU providing them with cover to change their minds.

 

But then again, what do I know? This is post-2016 politics. It’s all still to play for.