EU Can’t Hurry Love

Woof. What a week. It was like watching a bladdered Wetherspoons regular trying to roll a cigarette at 11.30pm on a Friday night – quite entertaining in a sad sort of way, but with a real possibility of everything being set on fire. 

This week won’t see the same level of Parliamentary carnage, unfortunately, but may well end up being no less important. We could see Theresa May’s deal finally get passed, resulting in a confirmed Brexit this Summer (coming soon to a cinema near you), but more likely is that we will see just how long it’s going to be delayed by.

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Anyway, to business! First, we look at what could happen, then we move on to the hypothetical outcomes.

What’s Happening This Week?

We will finally find out what kind of extension we will be getting to Article 50 and how much longer this Brexit debacle can limp on.

  • On either Tuesday or Wednesday, Theresa May will likely put her deal before Parliament for a third time. If it passes, then we will have agreed to leave the EU. If it fails, as expected, then it’s a political free-for-all.

  • On Thursday, May will travel to Brussels to discuss the outcome with other EU leaders. If her deal has passed, she will ask for a short extension to Article 50 in order to have the extra time for getting the technicalities sorted and passed into law. If she has failed (again, lol) then she will have to ask them for a longer extension – the EU will decide the length of this.

Sounds Simple Enough…

Yeah, it isn’t though.

Is It Ever?

No, not anymore.

There are so many variables to what could happen this week that it’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen. 

To start with May’s deal alone:

  • She has been spending the weekend meeting with Brexiteers to try and persuade them to change their minds on her vote, and has had some levels of success – a few prominent Brexiteers such as Esther McVey have openly stated that they will support her deal. 

  • She has also been negotiating with the DUP, although these negotiations seem to have not gone particularly smoothly – reports are suggesting that the DUP remains highly reluctant to support a deal that still hasn’t sorted the backstop.
    • Supposedly, the attorney-general Geoffrey Cox (“Bollocks”-man) is looking at further ways of spinning the legal amendments made this time last week to try and change DUP hearts and minds.
    • There has also been condemnation of reports of more funding being made available to the DUP if they support the deal. It smacks of bribery, much like the promise of funds to poorer, Labour-supporting areas a couple of weeks ago. 

  • Additionally, and most importantly, even with full support of the DUP and some Brexiteers, it still looks as though May wouldn’t have anywhere near enough support for her deal to actually pass.
    • Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has indicated that if it looks like they won’t have the numbers then they simply won’t hold the vote.

  • However, there is also an amendment being discussed called the Kyle-Wilson amendment:
    • It calls for temporary support of Theresa May’s deal and allows it to pass through Parliament…
    • …so long as it is then immediately followed by a referendum, with one choice – May’s Deal or Remain.
    • This might be May’s best chance of seeing her deal passed through Parliament, but so far it remains just speculation.


OK, So We Might Not Have a Third Meaningful Vote This Week Then?

Quite possibly not. There is also a chance that the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, might refuse to let May have another vote on it anyway. If the deal is unchanged from the one that was voted on last week, there is a (very, very old) law saying that she can’t have another vote on it.

Sigh. OK, So What Happens If There Isn’t a Vote Or It Fails, Then?

When May goes to Brussels, she will have to ask for a longer extension to Article 50. This is extremely complicated:

  1. All 27 EU member states have to unanimously agree to allow an extension, and Nigel ‘Frog-Face’ Farage has been lobbying EU member states to veto one. If this happens, we crash out on the 29th with no-deal. It is extremely unlikely, but is a possibility. 

  2. The length of the extension is open to debate – currently, the whispers are that it would be two years. This is to allow the UK to have a general election, a second referendum, or a total rethink of what we actually want from Brexit. 

  3. The EU has also stated that it won’t grant an extension without a clear indication that one of the previous options is actually going to happen – Parliament will have to demonstrate that it has a plan for finding a clear strategy on how to proceed.
    • This will most likely be achieved by holding ‘indicative votes,’ where every MP is given a list of choices (i.e. Norway, no-deal, second referendum, revoke Article 50 etc.) and they vote for their preference. The choice with the least number of votes is struck off and another vote is held on the remaining choices. This is repeated until there is only one choice left. 

  4. A longer extension means that the UK will have to participate in the EU Parliament elections this Summer, which would be an absolute nightmare. 
    • Firstly, for May, it shows that we have demonstrably not left the EU more than three years after the referendum, which would anger Leavers.
    • There are concerns that Leavers would vote in their droves to elect  Leave-preferring candidates, which could badly disrupt Parliamentary process.
    • There are legal issues abound, too – if the UK refuses to take part but then remains an EU-member further down the line, then all the decisions made by the EU Parliament while the UK wasn’t represented are no longer legally-binding. 

  5. A quick reminder that we are supposed to leave next Friday at 11pm, and legally will do so unless we have secured an extension by then. There is absolutely no road left down which to kick the battered old Brexit can.


Ultimately, we simply don’t know what will happen this week – any of the above could well happen. We will most likely only know what will happen on a certain day the morning of it, and then the result that evening.

Jesus Christ. Any Good News?

Yep. Nigel Farage’s “Brexit Betrayal” March over the weekend, which was the start of a two-week trek from Sunderland to London, was an unmitigated disaster. Only 370 people turned up, and that number dropped to 77 by day two. 

Given that Farage has been a whining, pitiful, tweed-wearing twerp throughout the entire process, to see his plans for a glorious march turn into a rain-drenched trudge was extremely cathartic.

By which I mean it was fucking hilarious.


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Only 11 sleeps to go!

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