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I wrote a thread yesterday explaining why I thought that any temporary government is only likely to be attainable if it has a very narrow mandate: to ensure that there is a pre-Brexit GE. 1/
There was a good discussion (thanks all!). The most common objection was that the temporary government should not leave Brexit unresolved, but that it should instead legislate for a #PeoplesVote before a GE. 2/
This is, for at least three reasons, a hugely problematic plan. It worries me that it has such strong support, from all parties/factions. I'm really keen to hear from those who disagree with me... 3/
First, as said yesterday, the various parties/factions disagree. There is, imv, no way they could govern for the 6 plus months a PV would take to organise. The ongoing, exasperating, debate about the identity of the PM illustrates the difficulties. 4/
Second, and more importantly, they are also divided on the PV itself. They can agree that remain should be an option. But there needs to be a leave alternative, or alternatives. 5/
Many options are canvassed: no deal; the Withdrawal Agreement; a 'better' Brexit to be negotiated by the new Govt with the EU. Various combinations of the above. Abstract Leave, again. 6/
Each is deeply problematic. I won't explain here, but happy to discuss. And, if any option is not represented, its supporters will (quite legitimately) feel disenfranchised. 7/
The Govt has not only failed to deliver Brexit, it has also failed to define it. As a result, while some may want to 'put it to the people', there is no (settled) 'it' to 'put'. 8/
I have long argued that the appropriate response to the failure even to define Brexit cannot be a PV, but should be to revoke the Article 50 notification. In an autumn GE, I hope remain parties make the case to do just that. See… 9/
Anyway, to return to the main point, the now 'temporary' govt needs to agree on the question and pass the necessary legislation. And if any renegotiation is involved (to generate a 'better' leave option), that will add months. 10/
Third (and last), there is a misconception that a second referendum can 'settle' Brexit in a way in which (eg) revocation of A50 following a GE win by a party or parties pledged to revoke cannot. 11/
The legal consequences are exactly the same. Politically, a PV may be thought to be somehow 'safer'; but surely not if Brexiters have grave objections to the framing of the PV question. 12/
To sum up - the temporary govt should not be make any sort of commitment to hold a people's vote. It should concentrate simply on ensuring that there is a GE before a possible no deal Brexit on Oct 31. At the GE, the various groups can make their substantive case. 13/13
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