Theresa May By UKHomeOffice (CC-BY-2.0)

Image By UKHomeOffice (CC-BY-2.0)

Who'd a thunk it, Theresa May has asked for more time to try and do what she couldn't do before, when she asked for more time.


Theresa May our esteemed Prime Minister, has gone to the House of Commons and told our MPs that she needs more time to try and get a legally binding change to the Irish border backstop protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Why she can't just tell the EU that the backstop is illegal under all manner of laws, including EU law, I just don't know – has she not asked the Attorney-General about this?

Anyway, the good news for Brexiteers is that she's put off any voting in the house on it for two weeks, until Tuesday the 26th February, for now.

Then MPs are being told that if she comes back empty handed, they can have non-binding votes on it during business on the following day. Like telling children to go into the next room, be quiet and play with their toys isn't it?

Right now we have just 45 days to go to Brexit Day, by the time that the 26th February arrives that is down to just 31 days!

One thing that puzzles me though, is that there is currently no talk of a vote of no confidence in the government. Surely the opposition would be discussing it to gauge the support they might get, even if they didn't trigger it right now?

Anyway, while Mrs May is talking to UK politicians about getting the Eurocrats to agree to change the Irish border backstop arrangements, Brussels is adamant in its refusal to do so.

Further, we now only have 27 normal parliamentary working days until we exit the EU.

And by the time that the 26th of February gets here, that will be just 19 working days to sort the required statutes out, if they had a deal on which to work – which is highly questionable at the moment.

Now, even if they started working fully on Fridays and weekends that would only give them 30 days from February the 26th to get everything done – deal or no deal.

Everyone's telling her that more time is needed so she should go and get an extension to Article 50. But she has continually ruled that out, while saying that there is enough time to get the primary and secondary legislation through Parliament to support her deal.

Even though the Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, has said that we might get to the final few days prior to Exit day before Theresa May is able to secure her amendments to the backstop.

So, assuming she is not extending or revoking Article 50, another legal mechanism must have been found to maintain the status quo until the laws were sorted in the UK. And the EU parliament had voted through anything they need before the 18th of April when they shut down before the EU MEP elections.

Now, one viewer did forward me a link to an article by Philip Allott of the University of Cambridge, called "Article 50 is flawed: could the ECJ extend the two-year withdrawal period?"

In it he argues that due to the size of the UK economy it would never have been feasible to think that we could leave the EU within two years under Article 50 and that under various provisions the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties there could be an 'interim period'.

And he writes:

"….. there could be an interim period between the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement and its entry into force. During that time, the UK would remain a member state and would be subject to EU law and would be entitled and obliged to participate in the work of the EU and the decision-making of its institutions."

This could be used to extend our effective membership without using an Article 50 extension.

Now, this could only apply in the case of having a deal agreed prior to Brexit Day, not to a no deal scenario and that is important so hold that thought.

Now, we all know that Theresa May is winding the clock down, but why is the unclear bit.

So I'll give you a scenario.

We know that both Theresa May and the EU are desperate to get her deal through for various reasons.

So, what if this stand-off is just a front? What if both the UK government and the Eurocrats have already agreed to get as close to Brexit Day as they dare, then say that the only way to prevent a no deal has been found, as long as MPs sign up to the deal – backstop and all – right now, then it will be in front of the EU parliament for agreement the next day and then this legal mechanism will be used to smooth the way in the coming weeks and months without the bother using an Article 50 extension.

And of course the threat will be that with so few days left the other option is no deal and no time for legislating for it.

"We have time for the deal," she'll say, "but not for no deal!"

Further, this would explain the newspaper reports some days ago about secret plans for what they were calling a 'grace period' to delay Brexit without, it seems, triggering an Article 50 extension – something I talked about in an earlier video.

Now, this is just me exercising my rather overactive and vivid imagination, but when you see Theresa May going to the wire with no parliamentary time left you do have to wonder about these things.

Anyway, please let us all know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Thank you for watching.


Article 50 is flawed: could the ECJ extend the two-year withdrawal period?

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