The real debate now is between leaving under the humiliating terms of the proposed withdrawal agreement, with no certainty about the eventual permanent relationship, or staying with our current rights as full members, with a voice, a vote and veto.
So the choice is between a bad Brexit deal and sticking with the deal we have in the EU. And it’s a choice for the people. I don’t think it would be right for parliament to just vote to stop the Brexit process. The people started this with their vote and they must make the final decision.
Almost certainly that will require some extension of the article 50 deadline beyond 29 March. The treaty is very clear about this – it can be done but requires unanimity among all EU states. If our purpose in asking for an extension was to allow time for a referendum, there is no doubt that all would agree. Brexit would be bad for everyone, though obviously worst for us.
And that leads me to one more, final, Brexiter fantasy, that we would ask for an extension to negotiate a “better” Brexit. For that there is no enthusiasm in any European capital. Dreams of a Norway-for-now-or-ever are just that – dreams.
The deal we have been offered is not what was promised and it’s not nearly as good as the deal we’ve got in the EU, but it’s the only Brexit offer on the table. [Continue reading…]