after the current March 29th 2019 deadline.
How this might happen ...
* Conf vote not put, or is survived. Majority 6-10.
* various backbench alliances float plans, each backed by some gvt ministers
- back deal, with referendum
- WA, with Norway+CU declaration
- managed no deal package.
* we reach Feb with outcome no clearer than on eve of Jan 15th vote.
Commons votes against No Deal by 500; it remains the default
Most media/political focus is on Labour's position on a referendum.
But (for one reason/another) in this scenario, no majority for a referendum either.
Eg: Labour whips to abstain on a referendum which gets 200 votes & so loses heavily (despite > 100 Labour MPs & 30 Cons backing it)
But opposition plays chicken with PM, suggesting she resign, call an election or revoke Article 50 if her negotiation has failed
Its March 1st.
Clock is ticking.
If the deal is not ratified by March 29th, it can't be made under the Article 50 rules. (Much slower national ratification process)
We may enter February with the outcome as unclear as on 14/1
At Ireland's suggestion, the EU27 Council unaninimously agrees to offer the UK a 6 week one-off time-limited extension to Article 50.
But strict conditions are attached to this ...
* No renegotiation of WA legal text (but time to sign & ratify it). Limited opportunity to amend political dec
* No possibility of more short extension (UK would legally hold Euro elections)
* but 12 month extension if UK gvt proposes UK referendum
* Corbyn: Customs Union should be negotiated
* Boris says shows we can renegotiate the whole deal after all.
* others that its space to mitigate & manage 'no deal deals'
But there are 550 votes for the short extension, once the offer was made.
Now, what to do with it?
As Commons meets after Easter, May's argument that its the Deal or No Deal is harder to challenge than in Jan
Labour debates abstaining on deal, or supporting 12 month option. It abstains. But will not rule out a referendum to Return in 2021.
* Logically, makes sense if Deal is better than No Deal, & if EU Council wants to keep power to make the deal (which dissolves on 29/3).
* EP timeline prevents rolling deadline extensions
If one applies my new "Brexit Indecision Rule" that any decision that can be deferred will be delayed, this seems to me to be the very latest feasible timeline to decide!
* Could happen with less brinkmanship (but not clear who wants to organise that).
* alternative: Delay/referendum majority
That requires a short extension to be legally possible. This is a version of how/why that might happen.
But about 300 MPs have yet to choose between those options.
* Similar logic for events of January/February seems likely to apply; a working assumption that March 29th deadline will stick is sensible.