There is talk that Theresa May will be bringing her deal forward for a Meaningful Vote four (MV4) and that if it fails we are headed for a lengthy Article 50 extension.
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In another push to get her deal through the Commons, Theresa May is said to have hinted that it was either her deal or a lengthy Article 50 extension.
But Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Brexit negotiator, has warned that there would have to be a 'strong justification' for such an extension as it would carry significant risks for the EU and also that a no deal Brexit is looking more likely by the day.
As Michel Barnier warns that a no deal Brexit is becoming more likely, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper is tabling a bill that, if it became law, would force the UK government to go to Brussels and ask for a further Article 50 extension.
The bill leaves a blank box for the date to which it would be extended.
In a Tweet on the proposed bill, Cooper says:
"We are now in dangerous situation. Risk of damaging No Deal on 12 April rising fast. Whatever is/isn’t agreed this wk, PM must put forward plan for extension to avert No Deal on April 12. For sake of jobs, families & security, this cross party bill aims to ensure that happens."
It is believed that this will come up when MPs once again grab control of the House of Commons order paper tomorrow so that they can control what business is debated and voted on. And it appears that Tory Remainer Oliver Letwin has cleared the way for this to happen by not going ahead with the third indicative votes process in that session.
Letwin also said:
"This is a last-ditch attempt to prevent our country being exposed to the risks inherent in a no-deal exit.
"We realise this is difficult. But it is definitely worth trying."
Now, I may be wrong on this, but as this bill is not government business it is a back bench bill. So presumably a Brexiteer MP can spring up and shout 'object' at the correct juncture and freeze the bill in its tracks for that day at least.
And I'm sure there are plenty of Brexiteer Tories about ready and willing to engage in that activity, don't you?
There is also the matter of the limited time left to the Cooper side to get such a bill through both houses of parliament and obtain Royal Assent before the PM can be forced to waddle off to Brussels again to bend the knee once more to her EU masters.
And there's still absolutely no guarantee that the EU27 will play ball and agree to an extension.
And that's without Brexiteer MPs and Lords fighting this at every turn. And it may be that in this case the House of Lords turns out to be the stumbling block for any attempt to get this bill through.
Theresa May will also not be completely happy to comply with any order for a long extension, as Tory Brexiteer Nigel Evans says that were she to do so she would have to resign.
There is also pressure being applied on the PM from her own Brexiteer backbenchers, where about twenty of them are said to be ready to vote against her, even if she makes her deal a vote of confidence in her own government. With the former Brexit Secretary David Davis warning the PM via the BBC, saying:
"….don’t be sure that every Conservative MP would vote for you if it was made a confidence vote."
But one announcement that the PM's spokesman made this morning will please Brexiteers, which was that the PM was still opposed to a second EU referendum in all circumstances, that no deal was still the default position and that she was not prepared to revoke the Article 50 letter.
So this does back up thoughts that she really is going to try and get her deal in front of the House of Commons again. But the struggle Theresa May will have there is how to change her deal enough to make it able to pass the test of the Speaker, John Bercow, that it is sufficiently different from the last offering to make it acceptable to table again.
But if she does manage it, then taking all the above into consideration, it appears to be the following for her in order of preference: first Her deal, second a lengthy extension and third no deal.
First, her deal is toast and second, the Eurocrats are getting very wobbly about keeping the UK inside the EU for one moment longer than necessary, so the no deal Brexit option must be coming up fast on the rails as we near the end of the race.
That no deal Brexit may actually prove to be the one single solution to all the problems of Brexit for both sides! It's just that it will take a little time as well as give and take from both sides to get the best from it.
We are now in dangerous situation. Risk of damaging No Deal on 12 April rising fast. Whatever is/isn’t agreed this wk, PM must put forward plan for extension to avert No Deal on April 12. For sake of jobs, families & security, this cross party bill aims to ensure that happens pic.twitter.com/6tQTL45txl
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) April 2, 2019