, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
To understand where we go from here in Brexit we need to understand where we are. It isn't a pretty picture - thread... 1/
The PM believed she could find a deal that all of her party could support. As per Chequers this was the soft Brexit for frictionless trade combined with the hard Brexit for an independent trade policy. Such a deal almost certainly cannot exist 2/
What we therefore ended up with was neither hard or soft Brexit - but instead put all of the PMs aspirations into the Political Declaration, a document which the EU could only agree to because it was aspirational. The PM sold it as done deal. 3/
It is argued by some that the Article 50 process means it is inevitable that you leave the EU without a future relationship in place. True. But you don't have to leave with some complete ambiguity. Red herring 4/
The PM then allowed everyone time to see what an awful deal this was by constant delays - the deal that wasn't in October, the delayed meaningful vote in December. By January it was clear the deal was not as the PM said it was 5/
A rare word in praise of MPs. They may not have developed a detailed understanding of trade issues, but generally the collective can smell something that isn't right - in this case that the PM's deal was a poor one 6/
Those who would criticise the EU, as ever there were things that could have been done better in the negotiation process. But the structural problem of the PM demanding an impossible deal is not easily resolved, and they did their best to provide some structure for it 7/
You need this background to understand that the PM and Government are now in a terrible situation. The ambiguity which led to MPs on both wings voting against the deal was not an accident, that was the whole point of the deal 8/
The PM cannot easily pivot to soft or hard Brexit because they are fundamentally out of keeping with the approach to date and deal. The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration if they exist in these alternatives looks completely different 9/
Thus the early reports from Number 10 that cross-party talks were conditional on an independent trade policy demonstrate a Government in complete denial. Sure you can always have a trade policy, but Free Trade Agreements and no Irish border? Difficult 10/
The PM's only hope remaining is to run the clock down to March and hope her deal is then more attractive than no-Brexit and no-deal. It would win v the latter, but not against the former, one suspects 11/
Could the PM do more to promise Parliament a role in the second stage, ensure workers rights are protected for Labour MPs, or simply abandon her misleading narrative and be honest. All possible, but hard as levels of knowledge on what is real and not go up 12/
If the PM can't easily change the House of Commons has a choice on whether to force the issue, with tacit support from the likes of Gove and Hammond, to a soft Brexit. Or whether Corbyn supports a referendum, which is doubtful. 13/
Any serious change will in approach need more time however, and Article 50 extension while likely is not automatic. But as has been said many times before, the EU can reopen the Withdrawal Agreement for a UK change of approach. They've said it. 14/
If the PM wanted to do one helpful thing for everyone, and most of all the whole economy, she could rule out no deal, which clearly doesn't have the numbers in Parliament. No-deal planning is haphazard in Government, and distracting from better things 15/
Just a word on the idea we can pivot back to a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, no we can't, was only ever on offer for GB not Northern Ireland, non starter like the PM's deal. And that's really the nub of it for the coming weeks 16/
MPs have voted against a unicorn in the form of the Political Declaration. It is doubtful the PM can respond except with more of the same. Similarly Corbyn. So it is now either for MPs to respond, or we head into March with nothing resolved and a penalty shoot-out 17/
First of all let us get the pointless theatrics of a no-confidence vote out of the way, and then the time of unicorns is hopefully at an end, and let us move on to the time of real solutions 18/
My 'first thoughts' article from last night on which much of this thread is based can be found here... linkedin.com/pulse/prime-mi…
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