Lump of solid iron in a bathtub


As predicted Theresa May’s attempt to get just the withdrawal agreement through fell like a lump of solid iron in a bathtub – so now what?

Honestly, I would be looking at three or four different routes…

1. a. She calls a General Election (Without her resignation, I wouldn’t be surprised (at this point) if Theresa May refused to step down and before they dissolve parliament for the GE, she puts her deal back a 3rd/4th time, and this time it’s voted through, because there’s no more scared a Tory than one in fear of loosing his cushy seat).
1. b. Theresa May calls a General Election (no extra vote; she resigns).
1. c. Theresa May calls a General Election (no extra vote; and she doesn’t resign).

2. Indicative Votes on Monday present a plan – possibly a confirmatory referendum, possibly an agreement to withdraw from everything but the Customs Union, possibly in favour of Labour’s alternative Brexit Plan.

3. a. Theresa May calls a confirmatory referendum.
3. b. Theresa May pulls the UK into a no-deal brexit.
3. c. Theresa May cancels article 50.

4. a. Theresa May resigns and her successor calls a confirmatory referendum.
4. b. Theresa May resigns and her successor opts for No Deal.
4. c. Theresa May resigns and her successor asks for an extension so that they may completely renegotiate the deal.
4. d. Theresa May resigns and her successor cancels article 50.

*** EDIT ***
There is now talk of a 5th option, which is so hubris I don’t understand how this is even possible, kind of like 1. a. above.

5. Theresa May brings back her deal for a 3rd/4th vote next week in a “run off” with the winner (or least looser; or most supported) of the indicitive votes round 2, apparently Downing Street believes that will be a Customs Union, but if May is determined to scare the ERG I would have said that should be a Second Referendum, though that gamble may be too much. However, considering the Withdrawal Agreement doesn’t negate a future PM negotiating a Customs Union, it would be strange, but in this case not unexpected, to pit that against the PMs Withdrawal Agreement.

– If she wins her deal goes through.
– If she looses I’m not sure we’re technically any further forward, because a Customs Union is part of the “Future Relationship” so that’s not something that can be determined before we agree a the withdrawal agreement; unless of course she puts it against a Second Referendum, in which case that would be our next step.
***END EDIT***

Now most of those routes are “political suicide” – and honestly even as a Labour voter I’m not sure parliamentary arithmetic post a GE will change enough to see any one solution work, rather a coalition or confidence-and-supply arrangement will be required. Which may mean my suggested idea for a way through (GE, negotiate new deal and then confirmatory referendum) could actually be something the current opposition parties – the SNP, Lib Dems, “Change UK Party” formerly known as the Independent Group and the UK Labour Party may have to agree to satisfy just about everyone on the left and they may have to govern as a “rainbow coalition”. But what it can’t be claimed by the Conservatives next time is that they’re:

A. The Party of Sound Economy
B. The Strong & Stable Party
Or that the “Rainbow Coalition” would be a “Coalition of Chaos”.

And in truth, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess now, without blaming anything, if in 2010, David Cameron hadn’t charmed Nick Clegg more than Gordon Brown had. But that’s the past and I’m not sure what the way forward is beyond the weekend…

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