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Why Jeremy Corbyn has changed his mind on a 2nd #Brexit referendum and why this might paradoxically help May to get her deal through the Parliament. A thread from my article in @repubblica

(I usually do this Brexit stuff in Italian, I’ll try in English now, hope to be decent 😊)
First of all, the most obvious thing: Corbyn did this move not only because of a new Brexit strategy but above all because of a party strategy: the hemorrhage of moderate or outraged MPs had to be stopped somehow. The Independent group surely was concerning him. We’ll see.
Sure this move won’t stop the MPs shocked by the accusations of antisemitism, but it might have a good impact on the europhile ones. The new mantra is clear: until the choice is between May’s deal and No Deal, the new Labour weapon is a new, 2nd referendum.
BTW, how is supposed to be this new 2nd referendum? No one knows in the Labour party, as far as I understand. The Remain choice should stay as Labour mentioned some time ago but the options on the “ballot paper” are still unclear. Also, the annouced amendment looks not imminent.
Moreover, please note that the 2nd referendum is still not the first option for Jeremy Corbyn to break the #Brexit deadlock. In fact, first comes his well known Brexit plan, based on a permanent custom union and a sort of the alignment with the EU single market.
6. Brussels likes this Brexit plan, not at all Barnier met Corbyn last week (at the Labour leader request). EU sources tell me that Brussels partially disagrees on his single market alignment (cherrypicking) but Tusk & Juncker have already endorsed the plan. Good for Ireland too.
7. The thing is that Corbyn’s plan on #Brexit will hardly get any majority in the House of Commons. I cannot see enough Tory rebels to support it. So, ruling it out, might it be the turn of a 2nd referendum? Well, sorry but this is still unlikely for a couple of reasons.
8. First of all there is no majority either for a 2nd referendum in the HoC. Also, now Corbyn has a different priority: to support the Cooper amendment which might hijack the #Brexit process from Theresa May’s hands and give her the most serious blow taking No Deal off the table.
9. Two weeks ago Corbyn whipped it but dozens of Labour rebel MPs from the North voted against. Now what might happen? Nobody knows. But this time the chances to get the Cooper amendment through are higher. In this case May must get her deal approved in the HoC by March 13rd.
10. Otherwise an art 50 sort of extension is inevitable. This would undermine Theresa May efforts and boost Jeremy Corbyn chances to be more and more influential and push for his Brexit plan (which I think still too soft to accept by the current Parliament but we’ll see).
11. BTW which kind of extension should we expect? We don’t know. Most likely, a very short one of a quite long one (EU elections in between). But I guess that an extension, of any sort, even for a managed No Dea, is the most probable outcome at this point.
12. In this “extended” context I wouldn’t rule out a new general election
I know that now that is more unlikely than in the past but it depends on what is going to happen in the Conservative party. In any case, given the political scenario, a new clear majority is really unlikely
13. In any case, I think that Corbyn’s offensive today for a 2nd referendum might paradoxically help Theresa May for one simple reason: her last minute strategy to get her deal through might prove effective in a more “aggressive political context”
14. Here’s why. I think that Corbyn pushing for a 2nd referendum + an imminent art 50 extension might scare the hell out of the majority of conservative Brexiters, as far as I understand. With some reassurances (not even legally binding) on the Irish backstop, many might give in.
15. The question is: how many of them are going to swallow May’s “bad deal”, “but better than no Brexit”? I think many of them. But will they be enough for May? The outcome might be very tight. Also because the Labour rebels might be less than expected after Corbyn’s move today.
16. All in all, I think that the two most likely outcomes right now are:
1) either a sort of article 50 extension beyond the 29th of March
2) or May’s deal through, despite the current miserable political reputation of the PM. But, against all odds, she can still make it.
17. This thread ends here. Hope I was decent enough in my first English thread on #Brexit after plenty on Italian politics. Any feedback or comment is always welcome. Thank you and good night 😊
ps. Just to stress one important thing that maybe wasn't that clear in the thread. As I write in my article, Corbyn knows well that a #Brexit 2nd referendum is very unlikely to get approved by the House of Commons
But it might be useful for his strategy in any case, for 2 reasons
First, he can tell his europhile MPs and members: I tried to trigger a 2nd referendum but there is no majority in the Parliament, as you can see. Secondly, the 2nd referendum call might be a sort of leverage for his #Brexit plan, which, I repeat, is still his first option. Thanks
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