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What will be the outcome of the Brexit negotiations? My views change from day to day, but at the start of March this is how it looks to me. A thread. Chances of May's deal passing are rising, to say 35%. /1
This is because hard-Brexiteers are finally realising that Commons can probably prevent No Deal - and if they destroy May's deal, Art 50 will be extended, perhaps endangering Brexit. So if the May/Cox renegotiation can produce a skimpy fig-leaf, that cd allow DUP & some ERG... /2
to climb down and back May's deal. 20 or 30 never would, but Labour MPs fearing that the defeat of May cd lead to 2nd ref wd help push May's deal across the line. However, EU will not make real changes to backstop (as @pmdfoster has tweeted) so I doubt enough ERG wd back May. /3
If May's deal goes down, she (or her successor) cd reach out to Labour to go for a softer Brexit (customs union & maybe closer to single market) in a new political declaration. Almost certainly a parliamentary majority for softer Brexit. But it wd split Tories down middle. /4
And may well destabilise govt. And wd there be a majority for legislation which must follow meaningful vote to implement the withdrawal agreement? And lack of trust between Tory & Labour leaderships makes it hard for them to work together. So I would put softer Brexit at 20%. /5
Have always thought no deal v unlikely. Any govt that pushed for it or drifted towards it would be brought down by votes of opposition and moderate Conservatives who would put national interest ahead of party. So I would put this outcome at 10%. /6
Which leaves two other possibilities. Chances of general election have risen a little in recent days. Arrival of TIG makes it v unlikely that Labour can win a GE. This may make some Tories keener to risk an election, especially if Parliament is blocked on Brexit. /7
But a GE is still difficult for Tories, since they would not know what their line was on Brexit - for May's deal, no deal, harder deal, softer deal, referendum or what? So I would put chances of election this year at perhaps 20%. /8
Corbyn's sort-of commitment to a referendum doesn't make that outcome likely. If 30 or more Labour MPs vote against that option, and only 10-20 Tories vote for, which seems likely, it is hard to see a majority in Commons for referendum. So I wd say 15% chance. /9
But that could change if other options, like May's deal and softer Brexit, fall down. Then those wanting to stop no deal will lean to referendum. Even May cd conceivably find the Kyle-Wilson idea appealing ie Labour wd support or abstain on May deal if she promises ref... /10
Saying 'my deal or Remain'. That would piss off hard-Brexiteers who want neither option, and thus split Tory party. But it might be the only way of getting May's deal through Parliament. /11
All options require Art 50 extension. Even if May's deal wins vote on March 12, more time will be needed to pass the legislation. And UK not ready for no deal, either - more time required for preparations. Softer Brexit wd need pol decln to be revisited. /12
These options require 2 or 3 month extension, which EU would certainly grant. A GE or referendum wd need more time, which EU wd probably grant, as long as there was a clear purpose. BXL institutions say UK wd then have to elect MEPs - politically impossible in UK - /13
but many member-states seem to think a way could found around that obligation (EP lawyers say if UK fails to elect MEPs, it wd be in breach of treaties but that Euro Parl wd not be improperly constituted). /14
Finally, Remainers need to realise that while many member-states wd be happy for UK to change its mind, the key people in Paris, Berlin & BXL are now focused on helping May get her deal through Parl. Which is why that outcome is probably least unlikely. /15 @CER_EU
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