This week is going to be a busy one in Brexit terms, according to parliamentary sources.
After weeks of priming the UK public to expect the worst, with much discussion last week of no-deal scenarios and the resignation of a minister amid predictions of no-deal disaster, Theresa May will announce a deal on Tuesday and give a speech in the Commons on Wednesday, in the hope that enough people will be desperate enough to avoid no deal that they’ll accept any deal.
Labour will vote against May’s deal and may be able to block it as long as ‘moderates’ do not side with May to undermine Corbyn or through buying into the panic the Establishment has been building – and a handful of Tory ‘rebels’ actually rebel for a change.
May, meanwhile, will be furiously horse-trading behind the scenes to try to scramble her deal through, offering any and every promise – and will be hoping that her attempt to tie the hands of the DUP will succeed.
The DUP set out to achieve a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. May has offered them a choice between a soft border in the Irish Sea – or a hard border in the Irish Sea, gambling that they will choose to accept a soft border rather than voting on principle or obstinacy to reject her deal and bring her down.
The DUP has been playing along so far. But if they decide not to be May’s dupes and her gamble fails – and she has shown few signs of such a capability previously – a no-deal Brexit requires a vote and Labour will block that, too.
An unsuccessful week for May will leave Labour a hundred days to bring about a change of government through a general election. If Labour wins, the party will apply for – and undoubtedly obtain – an extension to Article 50 to complete proper negotiations for a constructive Brexit deal.
Much as May and the Establishment have been trying to present it as such, the only real choice the country has is not between between May’s deal or no deal – and certainly not between Brexit and no-Brexit – but rather between Tory government and Labour government. This week could be a big step toward it.
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