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THREAD: The myth of the soft Brexit majority.

A majority in this parliament needs to get to 320. It's been repeated so often that it has become a truth—that there is a majority for a soft Brexit in parliament.

Here's why that's almost certainly not the case.

Let's start with the Labour Party (245 MPs).

Soft Brexit is the position of the leadership (see JC letter to TM 6/2).

But there are at least 60 strong backers of a people's vote in the PLP & maybe 5 who want a harder Brexit.

So Labour brings max 180 MPs to soft Brexit.

What would the SNP do?

Well, Scotland voted to Remain, and yesterday Sturgeon said: "preferably asking for a longer extension to put the issue back to voters".

So don't count on any SNP support for soft Brexit

The Lib Dems and TIG are on their way to a merger or alliance, and are a "stop Brexit" party. Same is true for the Greens etc.

So no support there either.

So for there to be a majority for a soft Brexit, you have to believe that 136 Tory MPs would be prepared to accept a customs union and single market regulation.

What are the chances of that? Slim to none. Here's why.

Many Conservative Associations are as hardline as the ERG (see Boles, N.) May's deal is the softest #Brexit they would accept.

How would Tory MPs explain abandoning "global Britain" and "a great global trading nation" for a customs union & no independent trade policy?

And in Westminster, MPs realise that it is highly likely that the next Tory leader will be a hardline Brexiteer—one who probably supported Malthouse or no-deal.

Backing a soft Brexit could mean sliding down the greasy pole rather than climbing up it.

Tory MPs that back soft Brexit risk deselection in their constituencies & career suicide in Westminster.

Nick Boles has been brave. But there's a reason that 'brave' in politics tends to mean courageous & foolish at the same time.

Are there 140 brave Tory MPs? No way.

If there's no majority for May's deal, no majority for no-deal, no majority for soft Brexit, then what?

MPs need to prepare themselves to support a long extension and a fundamental rethink if they want to avoid no-deal.

In the *end*, that will mean a 2nd referendum.

BONUS 1: One moderate Tory MP recently told me that his issue with May's deal was that it was a dishonest route to get to a soft Brexit—a customs union by stealth rather than by democratic consent. Interesting way to look at it.
BONUS 2: Remain MPs will always support a softening of Brexit, since a softer Brexit is preferable to a harder Brexit. But that doesn't mean they will support a final soft Brexit deal, because they don't want Brexit itself. This is the mistake many people keep making.
BONUS 3: Let's say I'm completely wrong about Labour & actually it's half that number that are hardline 2nd ref supporters (30 not 60). So Lab brings 210 to soft Brexit. That still means 110 Tory MPs need to back a soft Brexit. Ain't gonna happen.
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