Theresa May's answers during Prime Minister's Questions today about a 'no deal Brexit' or 'no Brexit at all', were as clear as mud.


I must say that Jeremy Corbyn did come out with a corker in PMQs today, by observing that the new and third non-travelling Brexit Secretary, Steve Barclay, was not going to Brussels with the PM today and he wondered if this was not just a 'ceremonial role' for the new post-holder.

Anyway, for those that missed it, the Prime Minister gave a tour de force in spectacularly contradicting herself within minutes, on the public stage during that arguably most important half hour of her week.

At one stage in the PMQ period she said in answer to a question:

"If you look at the alternative to having that deal with the European Union it will either be more uncertainty, more division or it could risk no Brexit at all."

Then within a few minutes or so, when the recently resigned works and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, asked her to confirm that the UK would be leaving the EU on the 29th March 2019 she said:

"….the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019."

Those statements do not, on the face of it, match.

Now, a chap named F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that:

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

But this does not apply to Theresa May or those MPs and people who believe her, because as soon as she's finished uttering one thing her mind empties to be filled with the next. One idea at a time all dependant on who she is talking to at the time – goldfish like. So the two statements must work together in her calculations, not oppose each other.

And the whole 'no deal' or 'no Brexit' doublethink scenario was made more murky when a Downing Street spokesperson said that the PM had been 'clear in her determination' to leave the bloc and then went on to answer a question if a no deal was still possible with:

"Yes. The only thing certain is that if we don't go forward with an agreement is that there will be uncertainty – no deal on one hand, no Brexit on the other."

So still no clarity. And still the same seeming contradiction.

Now, the PM has given her assurance several times in the House of Commons that the UK will be leaving the EU on the 29th March 2019.

For example, in response to Amber Rudd now claiming that in the event of the PM's plan being voted down, parliament can stop a 'no deal' Brexit, Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh Tweeted:

"Amber Rudd claims that if this deal is voted down then #Brexit will be stopped by Parliament. She is in direct contradiction to the PM who has confirmed to me twice in the Commons that deal or no deal Brexit will be delivered on 29 March 2019."

Now prime ministers and their spokespeople are very careful with their words, they know that even one misplaced comma can have a massive impact and cause confusion.

So what's the real message here? What is it that she and her spokesperson are trying to convey?

You could assume she's trying to scare the Brexiteers with talk of no Brexit at all, but you don't do that openly while contradicting yourself in these circumstances, if you really are trying to get a Brexit deal through the house on the basis of 'this deal or no deal', do you?

So, no. I don't think it's that. No, I think it's a message to her own Tory party.

I think she's saying something along the lines of, keep me by voting for this terrible Brexit In Name Only deal that just about no-one (except possibly Ken Clarke) wants.

Or vote it down and then I will step down having battled valiantly against the odds or vote me out on a no confidence basis and in either case you can quickly choose a replacement leader – then the ball is in your court.

It's then up to you who you put in my place and what direction they take. It's out of my hands and for the Brexiteers it could ultimately lead to a PM that goes about reversing Brexit with the backing of the majority of both houses of parliament.

Or worse still you risk the double whammy Labour getting in and reversing Brexit.

That I think is the sort of warning she's giving. That everything could change overnight.

And bear in mind that the European Court of Justice is due to hear and decide on whether it is possible for the UK to unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 letter in just six days time, next Tuesday 27th November.

Could this happen, would they be that stupid or cynical – I'm afraid that at the moment I would say all bets are off on that and anything is possible.

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

Thank you for watching.


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