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Henry Newman @HenryNewman
, 22 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
I understand why some are pushing an indicative vote but I think it's misguided & messy

The best thing is head off for a Christmas break & encourage MPs to spend the time thinking carefully

Meanwhile reports of the death of May's deal are greatly exaggerated

A thread 👇

It's obvious there are only now three real options -

✖️Leave with No Deal

✖️Leave with May's Deal

✖️Don't Leave

There are special cases of each of these but every possible path falls into one of these three boxes.

Managed no deal (whatever that is or isn't) is a way of dressing up No Deal with a nice bow.

Norway Plus entails leaving with May's Deal & seeking to add commitment to build a closer future relationship.

A General Election or a Second Referendum could take us to No Brexit

I've been really stuck by how many Leavers are telling me the are "coming around" to May's deal.

Take @allisonpearson for example

Or @IainDale who told #PoliticsLive he "didn't used to think this" but is "coming to the conclusion" that we just need to get the hell out - by which he meant accepting the deal.

See also his blog -… [you have to scroll down a bit beyond the adverts]

I've also spoken with a Tory top grandee. He was previously very hostile to agreement. Now he's what I would call more sanguine & thoughtful about deal's benefits as well as its drawbacks

And he recognises that post failed anti-@theresa_may coup, options are further narrowed

We saw @PaulGoodmanCH - certainly no cheerleader for the deal - saying it "almost works".

His caveat to make it work (as he sees it) is big & not deliverable in the form as he wants it: we wont get a simple exit lever

But he's more positive than we had seen @ConHome before

I've spoken privately to lots of other journalists & think tankers from publications/outfits pumping out attacks on the deal

Several of these have said to me privately that they would reluctantly back the deal

But bashing it is good copy or what donors/readers want to see

This bias to criticism is not totally bad

There are clear problems with the deal

@10DowningStreet too often glosses over them - conflating bits of the agreement (transition Vs backstop Vs political declaration)

Of course we should look at the problems but not exclusively

I would say I've also been on a "journey" myself.

When the deal first came out my visceral response was very negative. Problems jumped off the pages

Off the pages and pages of text

But I had also accepted long ago that we were going to have some sort of backstop

Even though Brexit detail is literally my day job - I think it's also important to be honest enough to admit that I don't think I understood a lot of how the backstop actually worked for some time.

It wasn't till after a week that I noticed some pretty key stuff

For example the UK can, even in the backstop, resist new goods regulations from applying even in Northern Ireland.

I felt pretty dumb when I first realised this after several days.

But I rang round a few key Brexit watching journalists and they hadn't noticed that either.

Which takes me to another point - Downing Street have been very bad at selling their own deal

But perhaps more damagingly they failed really to define it at all when it first was launched meaning the deal was defined by its critics & - in the public eye - by resignations

On the other side we see all kinds of odd conflations and confusions from critics of deal. Some of these critics are still fighting Chequers

[Chequers is nothing to do with the Withdrawal Agreement and little to do with the Polticial Declaration]

Anyway, the basic fact remains that there are only two Brexit options:

✖️ leave with May's deal (whether tweaked or not)


✖️ leave without a deal

Everything else is off the table

Labour's laughable Brexit policy if it has any coherence at all is still premised on accepting a backstop - said @JennyChapman

And if you're going to do that you are basically looking at something very close to May's deal with extra promises in the Political Declaration

Other Brexit options like Norway Plus (which is far from an easy off the shelf model) is also a tweaked version of May's deal

Labour front bench are still resisting a second referendum & we have seen a passionate intervention against by @AngelaRayner

Moderate Conservative remainers like @NickBoles @nickherbertmp @NickyMorgan01 are strongly opposed

So although that's a risk it's not yet likely

So although all paths currently look impossible and we are in a stalemate, I just feel that the chances of May's deal passing aren't underpriced.

It's the deal on the table.

It is the only safe path out the EU

And if May can get a little more on the backstop & offer some mechanism to engage a Stormont Lock we might nearly be there

Labour may try to cause chaos by pushing Government to No Deal but if that happens I suspect their moderates will ultimately break away & let deal pass



Downing Street may ultimately get their way

See my colleague Stephen's take on all this - 👇

Ps - someone has pointed out I added too many negatives to tweet 19

I meant the deal is currently underpriced
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