With just over two weeks to go it seems most likely that, as I always feared, Brexit is to be betrayed.
The political establishment never truly accepted the outcome of the 2016 referendum. They paid lip-service to respecting it, then wriggled and twisted to block it at every turn.
Parliament this week will in all probability vote against Theresa May’s deal before also voting ’no’ to a ‘No Deal’ – despite recent ComRes polling showing that by 44% to 30% voters would prefer to leave without a deal if concessions cannot be extracted from the EU.
Ignoring the referendum result, and May’s own ‘No Deal is better than a bad deal’ pledge when she wanted our votes, Parliament is then likely to vote to request an extension of Article 50 as the only way of avoiding the ‘No Deal’ they’ll have just voted against.
Brexiteers could then be left with only two realistic scenarios. First – a long extension of Article 50 leading to a second referendum and either Remain or May’s deal; second – a short extension of Article 50 leading to May’s deal.
Faced with a forced-choice of May’s deal or Remain, I could easily imagine some of them voting for May’s deal.
If the public through four consecutive elections (EU2014, GE2015, Ref2016, GE2017) cannot enact change and their repeatedly-expressed will is ignored, it’s not just Brexit that will have been betrayed. It’s democracy itself.
Jonathan Arnott MEP