ELECSHUN? ELECSOON! : What Happens Now? (Part Two)

Here we go, lads.

Here we bloody go.

After three and a half years of terror, torture and tragedy, we are finally in the Endgame. Brexit, one way or another, will be sorted on the 13th of December, 2019.

…Except it may well not be. The sad reality is that Brexit is a part of us now. Brexit is us. We are Brexit.

And we deserve it.

While this election is the closest opportunity we have had for a resolution since the result of the 2016 referendum, a clear end to the deadlock is absolutely, categorically not guaranteed.

This nightmare may yet drag on into 2020. It may go on, indefinitely, interminably, for millennia.

Or it may end in a few short weeks.

It’s all to play for, folks. Who is going to come out on top?


Finally, at the fourth time of asking, Boris Johnson got his general election yesterday.

As I explained in yesterday’s blog, yesterday’s vote was a one-line Bill, designed to allow a general election to happen with just 50% of the House of Commons’ backing. On Monday, Johnson failed to win an election through the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which requires a 2/3rds majority.

But it was never fully guaranteed. In their trademark, charge-in-head-first style, the government tried to ram the vote through the House. However, Stella Creasy (Lab) won an amendment that allowed MPs to table amendments to it. As such, motions to extend the votes to 16 year-olds and EU citizens living in the UK were tabled.

Sensibly, however, John Bercow, into his final three days of Speaktatorship, decided that these amendments were not relevant to the matter at hand. He didn’t select them for debate or vote.

Essentially, they were important pieces of legislation that needed more debate, more time, and more thought, before they could be approved.

While if either had succeeded it would have been a huge blow to the Tories, this was the right call. Major changes to the franchise (those allowed to vote) should never be made on the hoof.

But there was still an amendment made to try and make the election happen on the 9th, not the 12th of December. This was to make it easier for students to vote, and further away from disrupting Christmas plans.

However, in the end, the government won, with a strong majority.

An election is happening on the 12th of December.


Yeah… about that…

Current polls have the Tories and Labour at exactly the same percentages as May vs. Corbyn at the start of their election campaigns in 2017. While the Tories have a healthy lead, that could easily evaporate in the fickle winds of an election storm.

Additionally, recent research suggests that this current electorate is the least loyal since records began in the 1960s – we are all far more prone to choose parties that we agree with, rather than just whose tribe we grew up in.

So while Johnson will undoubtedly be a better campaigner than Theresa May, who brought all the joy of a wasp in your pint, a Tory win is by no means guaranteed.

Corbyn, for all of his many, many… maaany faults, is a far better campaigner when he can take the conversation away from Brexit. He and his party have a final (if muddy) strategy on Brexit (negotiate Labour-led deal, then referendum), which they can announce and then focus away from.

And our politics is no longer a two-horse race. The Lib-Dems have had a massive surge in recent months since they have taken the most openly anti-Brexit stance. They made huge gains at the local and EU Parliament elections, and won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

They have an untested but confident new leader in Jo Swinson, and aspire for an outright majority win. This might prove to be beyond them, but again – we live in strange times.

A thought for the Brexit Party, too. While the wind has been thoroughly taken out of their sails in recent weeks, expect a strong resurgence. Johnson must campaign for his deal, otherwise he undermines the weeks he spent negotiating it and thus himself (which he often spectacularly does anyway).

While there are currently splits in the Brexit Party about whether or not to support it, they will almost certainly unite to fight an election under a “no-deal” banner, which is still, somehow, a good idea to many. This could split the Brexit vote right down the middle.

Plus, Theresa May only won a majority thanks to a £1bn “investment structure” to the DUP. After throwing them under the biggest of busses in negotiating his new Withdrawal Agreement, they are about as likely to get into bed with him as they would anyone outside of wedlock.

Which is funny coz they hate extramarital sex and gay people and Northern Ireland just voted to make all of that hatred illegal.

Lol. Get with the times, DUP.

Anyway – do not believe the hype. This will not be an easy win for anyone, especially Johnson. He may well do it, and may well get the majority he needs to enforce his own brand of Brexit, but if I were a betting man, I would keep that money firmly in my pocket.


No idea.


My early-doors prediction is that the Lib-Dem/SNP alliance makes them joint-kingmakers. Neither the Tories nor Labour will win an election outright, and will need to get into bed with the opposition.

If it’s the Tories, a coalition won’t happen without a referendum. If it’s Labour, the referendum will happen anyway, and the hard-left socialist policies that Corbyn and McDonnell are pushing for will never get a majority.

Centrist politics will be forced back onto the agenda out of necessity, with the reigns firmly on which ever party leads. No more idealogical politics, just debate, compromise, and common sense.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Unicorns may exist.


In that scenario, Brexit doesn’t end on the 13th of December. Oh no, no, no.

A referendum takes six months to prepare. Six more, agonising months of Brexit debate. Over and over again through the same tired arguments. Paralysed from everything else in the meantime.

We are Brexit. And we deserve it.

See you all in July, 2020.

ELECSHUN : What Happens Now?! (Part One)

A disclaimer: this is not a full blog.

Why is this, I hear you cry?! Surely so much has happened that we simply must be brought up to speed, damn you Between the Lines!

Well, shut up. I’m going to tell you.

Then I’m going to tell you why, yet again, it might all be irrelevant by the time you’re reading this.

Here’s the deal.

  • The EU has granted us an extension to Article 50 to January 31st. Johnson’s pledge to deliver Brexit, do or die, by October 31st is dead in the water.
  • Johnson has tried to call an election yet again – this was blocked yesterday evening in the House of Commons.
  • Why? Because Labour think an election might be an absolute disaster for them – they are polling terribly, are in a state of constant civil war, and are currently adrift in a typhoon in a rapidly-deflating life-raft.

Ok, So Now What?!

Despite yesterday’s setback, the government will today table a one-line Bill designed to grant an election on December 12th.

This might pass.


I know, it’s exasperating. But there’s some reasoning behind it.

  • Despite Labour’s refusal to budge, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have joined forces to try and help an election happen.
  • I know, it seems bonkers at face value, but both of them benefit if an election happens before Brexit is sorted: the Lib Dems can campaign as the only true Remain party, and the SNP could try to kill off the Scottish Tories, win more seats, and push for a second Scottish independence referendum.
  • If Johnson tables this bill, it could win a majority – it is a Bill, so only needs a simple majority. Yesterday’s vote was under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, where 2/3rds of the House of Commons would have to agree to it, not 50% +1 extra vote.

So… We Are Getting an Election?

Not necessarily.

*hits head on desk*

I know. I know.

But. Because it’s a Bill, it could be amended.

  • The SNP want to introduce a Bill that reduces the voting age from 18 to 16/17, as well as one to allow EU nationals living in the UK a vote, too.
  • These would be awful for the Tories if either passes, as neither of those demographics are remotely likely to vote Conservative, giving added power to opposition parties.
  • If either of these amendments are successful, the Tories will likely pull the vote.

So, we won’t actually know what’s happening until the close of play today. If the stalemate continues, it’s hard to know what comes next.

But there is a very real chance that neither amendment passes (or is even selected), so we could see an election finally, finally be announced.

And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. So take all of this in, immediately forget it, and face the new day.

Because while nothing stays the same in politics, in this day and age it’s changing faster than a chameleon on a disco ball.

Weekly Wrap-Up : *distant screaming*


Nope. Nope nope nope. Even I am so done with this now, and I write about Brexit for a living.

Don’t get me wrong, this week has been, yet again, utterly bizarre and totally bonkers, and absolute gold for politicos like me. I should be happy.

It’s been a week where Boris got his biggest win as Prime Minister, only to suffer his most damaging loss just fifteen minutes later.

Then, a day of relative calm. Anger, discussion, confusion, for sure. But calm.

And then yesterday. Boris laid down the gauntlet for a general election. In any sane time, this would mean we would, indeed, have a general election.

But, because of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, Corbyn doesn’t have to agree to it. He can just keep Johnson in purgatory, suspended in midair like a dollop of mayonnaise in an anti-gravity chamber.

Oh God, oh God, OH GOD.

Let’s review the week and see what on earth happens next.

Links in descriptions. Strap in.


Fresh off the back of the weekend where he asked the EU for an extension, despite telling the entire world he would rather “Die in a ditch” than do so, Boris had another nightmare to deal with.

The pint-sized Speaker of the House, John Bercow, refused to allow him a second meaningful vote on his new Brexit deal. This is because it went through unopposed after the Super Saturday/Pooper Crapperday debacle, so according to British constitutional law, he couldn’t bring it back.

And, to make things worse, Sir Oliver Letwin (aka Olly Bolly Letty Winz) had reversed Boris’ plan. The original plan was to pass a meaningful vote, giving him Parliamentary consent to his deal, and then pass the legislation. Vote on the sandwich, then rate the fillings.

Letwin, instead, opened up the sandwich to have all the fillings be approved first, before the overall sarnie could be given consent.

This was disastrous for Johnson.

But then, Tuesday wasn’t all doom and gloom for our beleaguered PM…


There were two votes on Tuesday – the first was the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or WAB. This passed by 30 votes, which suggested that some form of consensus could be found for a Brexit deal.

It was not, and I cannot emphasise this e-sodding-nuff, Parliament giving its full consent to Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Not even remotely.

That being said, it was a huge win for Johnson. He’d managed to negotiate a deal, against all the odds, and had managed to get some form of support for it through Parliament (despite shafting the DUP, Debbie-Does-Dallas levels of hard).

It was short-lived, however. Just fifteen minutes later, Parliament voted against his plan to debate, scrutinise and pass the bill in just three days, because it was utterly mental. Most bills require weeks to scrutinise, and this is the most important in living memory.

So, the October 31st deadline finally died a sad, miserable death.

In a ditch, presumably.

As such, we were destined towards an extension to Article 50…


…But yet we had to wait as the heads of the EU’s 27 member-states deliberated as to how long that extension should be. Wednesday saw Johnson appear in a rare PMQs, looking every part the shifty, defensive Prime Minister he has come to be defined as.

It was just his second since taking office.

He and Corbyn had a meeting first thing in the morning, which unsurprisingly achieved the political equivalent of using a Henry Hoover to clean up Chernobyl. Jack all.

But still we waited on the EU to give us an answer…


Until Boris hit the button. Again. Johnson urged Corbyn to go for a general election. His ruse was to say that his deal could be scrutinised, but only if there is an election on December the 12th.

Now, with the EU expected to give us a longer extension, no-deal was off the table, right? This time, Corbyn couldn’t refuse the call to arms to take it back to the people, could he?


We still don’t know how long an extension the EU will grant us. We still don’t know if Johnson can be trusted. We still don’t know if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party can collectively agree on anything more than, “Oooh, socialism, yey.”

Supposedly, the entire Labour Party is in fully-blown civil war as to what to do. Most know that a Corbyn-led party would be eviscerated at the polls, others think that they cannot be seen to shy away from the election they have promised.

It’s an absolute bloody nightmare. It really does look like Corbyn may not go for the election.

So where does that leave us? Johnson will be left dangling like the aforementioned levitating blancmange, and the EU might take one look at the whole situation and just think, “Zut alors, non.”

Johnson has also said that if there is no general election he’ll go on strike.

No, seriously. He’ll simply refuse to do any work, and repeat day after day that he wants an election.

While this seems petulant, to give the man some credit it would be extraordinarily amoral and, in my opinion, not even remotely in the spirit of democracy, if an election wasn’t called. Corbyn may not win it, but political gamesmanship is refusing to allow the people their say.

…Although the Conservatives have also refused to do that, so maybe they can both just piss off.

But what’s this? Olly Bolly Strikes, Yet Again?!

Rumours are coming out of Parliament that Olivier Letwinium might bring Theresa May’s deal back to Parliament in order to try to drive the process onward.

Yes, that deal. The one that I described as dead not once, not twice, but three times a few months ago. The zombie deal might shuffle its way back to our political discourse.

What an abject, miserable disaster our politics has become.

We await the verdict of the EU.

In the meantime, I’m going to drink a small sea of gin.

EXTENSION REBELLION : MPs Delay Deal, But Don’t Block It Either

Talk about a game of two halves.

Yesterday evening, MPs voted in favour of Johnson’s Brexit deal going through to a third reading in the house. It won by a majority of 30, a strong result.

This was the first time that a Brexit deal of any kind had won a majority in Parliament.

Then, just fifteen minutes later, Parliament voted against the government’s proposed timetable to pass the Bill. It lost by 14 votes.

I know. It makes as much sense as War and Peace written in Hungarian.

Now look, this is confusing for anyone who isn’t a total politics nerd like me. Why on earth would Parliament agree to a deal, then delay it? Why can’t this nightmare be over?!

Let me explain.


Yesterday’s Brexit slog started with a five and a half-hour debate about the two votes. There were some notable moments, such as the DUP publicly and furiously turning against Johnson for selling them so far down the river they were basically back in the sea.

Combine this with the newly-enacted laws in favour of same-sex marriage and abortion rights and it’s been a real humdinger of a couple of days for the Duppers.

The DUP, remember, believe that any kind of customs checks between NI and GB (England, Scotland, Wales) is totally unacceptable, because it threatens the sanctity of the United Kingdom – hence Democratic Unionist Party.

Johnson’s deal imposes those checks with impunity. It’s gone down like a turducken at VegFest.

Not only this, there were MPs openly rebelling against Corbyn to his face (in a “constructive” manner), former Tory MPs turning up the heat, and yet another farcical statement from the Prime Minister that showed no understanding of the realities he faced.

But, we’re not here to deal with misunderstandings. I watch BBC Parliament because I’m a huge nerd and something interesting happens every few months, but I know the vast majority of it is hysterically boring to most of you.

So let’s get to the crunch of it.


The first vote was on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or WAB for short. As I explained in my flowchart for yesterday’s blog, this isn’t the same as the meaningful vote that was amended and abandoned on Saturday and rejected on Monday.

This is the full, legally-binding text for Boris Johnson’s deal. And, for many MPs, there are some major issues with it.

Saturday’s meaningful vote, had it passed, would have nullified the Benn Act and given a form of Parliament’s consent towards the deal being passed. However, the WAB would still have had to have been voted on in Parliament in order to be approved.

Yesterday’s vote, however, was not Parliament giving consent to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

More complications. I know, I’m sorry. Let’s break it down.

The vote wasn’t Parliament’s consent. This is because of the word “Bill“.

A Bill, when passed through Parliament, becomes law. This is how all of our laws are made. A Bill isn’t passed through the House of Commons in just one go, however. Instead, it is given three “Readings.”

…Do I hear a BAM?



Click to Zoom

Looks pretty intense, right? So the vote yesterday was for Royal Assent, or something… right?


Second Reading.

Yep. That’s it. Just the seven more steps to go before it’s made law.

Which is the whole point. There is still an absolute mountain for the deal to climb before it can be ratified by Parliament. It needs debating, a third reading, going to the House of Lords to be scrutinised, back to the House of Commons to be scrutinised again, and then sent to the Queen.

And, while it is undoubtedly impressive that Johnson got a majority vote on his deal at all…


The second vote told Johnson that his original plan of three days was nowhere near enough time to give the Bill proper scrutiny.

The government wanted to push through all of the next seven phases in the space of three days, including the day spent debating the timetabling.

Three days, where a normal Bill would take weeks. It was nothing short of insanity.

So why did Johnson want to rush it through so quickly?!

  1. There are serious holes in the WAB. In the hours of debate before the votes yesterday, many of these were picked up.
  2. One major hole is that, currently, if we were to “leave” on October 31st, we would have until December 2020 to work out the new trading agreements with the EU (known as the transition period). If we failed in this, under Johnson’s deal, we would leave with no deal.
  3. And Johnson didn’t want anyone to realise that.

Unfortunately, they did. As such, MPs voted for Brexit to be delayed, again, despite a deal appearing to be closer than ever before.


Well… It’s quite hard to predict.

Johnson said that the Bill was now on hold until we knew what extension the EU would grant us. Johnson was forced to ask for an extension last weekend after the Letwin Amendment enabled the Benn Act.

Read about it here if you’re confused (and if you can be bothered – by this stage I don’t blame you).

So, the ball is now in the EU’s court.

They could refuse an extension, and we would have to smash out this deal before next Thursday or leave with no deal.

They could grant us an extension until December 2020.

They could grant a short-term extension of a few weeks in order for Parliament to amend the WAB.

Or they could grant us an extension until March-April 2020, and politely insist we use the time for a General Election, which Labour has said it would do.

We don’t really know for sure, but make no mistake – Brexit is all but delayed, again.

And the second that that delay is confirmed, all hell breaks loose.

Get your voting hats on, people – it’s (probably) going to happen.

A READ-LETTER DAY : Boris Asks For Extension, Denied Vote

The joke has been said many times already. I can’t resist.

Boris is presumably writing his last will and testament, prior to his self-interment in a ditch somewhere in St. James’ Park.

He said he wouldn’t do it. He refused to sign it. He sent three letters, trying to undermine his own request. But he did it.

Boris Johnson asked the EU for a delay.

And for all of the bluster around his childish attempts to bypass the law, this is the only response that matters:

That’s Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, telling the world that the EU considers it a formal request for an extension. That’s all that is important about the letters. An extension has been requested.

It is vitally important to forget the rest of the noise around this and to understand that the EU will, with 99% probability, offer to delay Brexit until January 2020 at the earliest.

Unless Boris Johnson passes his deal.

Which is a profoundly confusing situation, isn’t it? What the hell is a Letwin Amendment? Why are the words Meaningful Vote being used again?

What is an Erskine May?



Click to Zoom

Right. There’s a lot going on in there. Let’s go into a bit more detail.


Ah Letwin. Olly Bolly Letwin. A constant thorn in the side of our current and previous Prime Ministers, he has thrown his trusty spanner straight into the cogs of the Johnson machine.

I wrote about the full effect of the Letwin Amendment on Saturday, but to summarise:

  • Before, the plan for Saturday 19th was to have a vote on Boris’ new deal. If he won this vote, he officially had Parliament’s consent for his version of Brexit.
  • Bozzle Konks desperately wanted this to happen so that he wouldn’t have to comply with the Benn Act, which would force him to ask the EU for an extension. The deadline was… Saturday 19th.
  • However, the Letwin Amendment passed by 16 votes. This Amendment made the meaningful vote a meaningless vote – it removed Parliament’s consent.
  • Instead, Parliament would have to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legal text of the deal, in all of its many intricacies, before consent was given.
  • The Prime Minister cannot leave the EU without Parliament’s consent.

So, it forced the PM to ask for a delay, forced the letters, and forced the humiliation.


Things get more tricky here.


Right. The drama of yesterday revolved around a meaningful vote – you might remember that Theresa May lost three of these during her premiership. Saturday’s vote was meant to be a meaningful vote, but Letwin ruined that.

So yesterday was meant to be the meaningful vote instead.

Except there was a problem. One which, quite bizarrely, isn’t being discussed at all by the press.

The meaningful vote happened on Saturday. Most MPs had gone home, but no-one opposed it and it was just approved. It literally happened with a nod of the head.

Johnson won the meaningful vote, but it was meaningless, due to Letwin.

But. It happened. Which is important.

Because when the Prime Minister tried to bring it back yesterday, Bercow reminded him of the situation with Theresa May – a government cannot keep bringing the same question back to the House, over and over again, until it gets the answer it wants.

So he denied them a meaningful vote. This sent the Tory party into meltdown, and he faced a number of furious questions from pro-Brexit MPs. To which his response was largely… well…

I completely, 100% understand why people hate Bercow. He’s pompous, adores his own voice, and is widely reported to be a massive bully to his staff.

But to watch him in full, Berconian bluster mode, was glorious.


And, for what it’s worth, I think it’s true – he will be remembered as someone who always fought for Parliament to have a say. He never allowed a minority, bonkers government to run roughshod over the British political system.

And he was nothing “short” of Napoleonic in his Small Angry Man syndrome.

God speed, Bercow. Enjoy your retirement on the US Speaking Circuit, starting next Thursday. I’m sure they’ll adore you over there.




Because it has to, really. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons and solitary windfarm turbine possessed by the ghost of Neville Chamberlain, said yesterday that the government plans on passing all of the WAB legislation by this Thursday evening.

Or, at least, they’re going to try to.

This is so that they can show to the EU that the deal stands a chance of passing before they decide to give us an extension. However, this is incredibly tricky.

For a start, it’s a monstrous task to try and undertake in the space of three days. Not only that, but doing it this way round means that MPs can add amendments to every vote, including a full customs union or, even, a second referendum.

Supposedly, the government would just give up if it was amended to be a completely different deal. They wouldn’t dare go back to the EU, cap in hand, and negotiate a new Brexit deal that Labour had concocted. They’d rather force a no-deal Brexit.

Or even die in a ditch, one might say.


Either way, it’s going to go one of three ways.

1% possibility – the deal doesn’t go through, the EU doesn’t grant us an extension, and we crash out of the EU with no-deal next Thursday.

29% possibility – somehow, out of nowhere, the government gets the deal through Parliament. We leave with a deal next Thursday.

70% possibility – the deal doesn’t go through, the EU grants us an extension, but begs us to have a general election.

Lest we forget… (1.31)

We’re finally in the endgame. It’s Brexit, one way or another, or a General Election/Second Referendum.

Here we go lads. Here we go.

NOT-SO-SUPER SATURDAY : Brexit Deal Delayed

Well that was unexpected.

Boris Johnson’s brand spanking, shiny, glorious, definitely-not-Theresa May’s-deal-in-lipstick deal didn’t even get a vote.

Instead, Oliver Letwin, affable spaniel-turned politician, tabled an amendment that delayed a decision to be made on Brexit, and it passed by 322 votes to 306.

So the first Saturday sitting of Parliament in decades was actually not the showdown it was billed to be – it was, instead, yet another delay to Brexit.

Depending on your leaning, this might be a much-needed chance to scrutinise the deal or just another kick down the road of a pretty well-beaten can.


Yep. I know. It’s still happening.

So, what happened today? Parliament sat on a Saturday for the first time since the Falklands War in order to either approve or reject Boris Johnson’s newly-negotiated deal with the EU. If they had accepted the deal, Brexit would finally have been delivered.

However. Sir Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset, tabled an amendment to the bill. The bill, in this case, was Johnson’s deal, and bills have to be passed through Parliament in order to turn them into law. Amendments are suggested by MPs as a way of altering or manipulating bills.

Olly Bolly Let-Let’s amendment to the Brexit bill was to ensure that today’s sitting isn’t the final say on the deal, but that Parliament’s consent can only be given once the finer details of the deal have also passed through Parliament. He succeeded, which took all of the impetus out of today’s proceedings.


Yes, I know, it’s frustrating. Everyone, from the Queen to my mum’s dogs, wants Brexit to be done.



There was a real threat lurking within Parliamentary procedure. Before Letwin’s amendment, Parliament could have approved Johnson’s deal today. However, that wouldn’t be the end of it – more votes would be required to pass the finer details of the Bill.

Therein lies the threat – hard Brexiters could have voted for the deal today, then vote against the legislative fineries next week. If they did this, we would have a no-deal Brexit.

Bolly Wolly Wetling’s amendment protects against that. The fineries have to be approved first before Parliament’s consent can be given.

Brexit is delayed. Until next week. Monday, in fact.


I know. It’s insufferable.

But we are nearly there. What comes next?

Because Parliament hasn’t given approval to the new deal, Boris Johnson is legally required to ask the EU for an extension because of the Benn Act. This will be until January 2020.

Johnson has said he’s not going to do this, yet he is legally bound to do so. It’s going to be a pretty dodgy bit of legal tightrope walking from here on in.

But it’s fair to assume that the extension will happen – the EU do not want to be seen as being the instigators of a no-deal Brexit, so will grant us one if asked.

So what now? The deal may well be passed next week, but no-deal is now off the table. Many of those supporting #LetWINNING’s amendment have said they will vote in favour of the deal, but wanted to protect against no-deal. The deal may very well still pass on Monday.

But, if it doesn’t, we now have a Brexit deadline of at least January. This gives time for a general election or, maybe, a second referendum (although probably with even more time given by the EU).

The can, once again, has been kicked. The road continues.

But it will run out soon, one way or another. While Johnson had a considerable amount of momentum this week, he’s lost it all now. Brexit hangs in the balance.

It could go either way.

Weekly Wrap-Up : CRUNCH TIME

Apologies for being misleading, but there’s no real weekly wrap-up this week. The reason for this is that anything I tell you now is pure speculation.

Yes, I know, speculation is basically what keeps this website afloat, but this is different. Tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, will be the day that decides Brexit, one way or another. To speculate on that now seems disingenuous.

Not to say that I haven’t speculated or analysed at all, though. I would strongly recommend you read yesterday’s blog that explains all of yesterday’s many complications, and throws in some predictions for what comes next.

Said blog can be found here:

What a week it’s been (I know, I’m a broken record). From nothing, to something, to a deal, to pessimism about the deal, in all of three or four days.

But go out today. Go and make Friday that 18th the best day you’ve ever had.

Because Saturday the 19th is going to be horrendous.

And I’ll be there with you, every step of the way.


My hat is currently being doffed to within an inch of its life. Somehow, despite it seeming almost certainly impossible just a few days ago, Boris Johnson has managed to negotiate a deal with the EU.

That is a big, big deal, pun semi-intended. And something of a coup for the man who has been, thus far, arguably our worst ever Prime Minister.

I humbly apologise, and am genuinely incredibly impressed.

Anyway, back to normality. He remains, almost certainly, completely and utterly f*cked.

Wait, What?

I know. It doesn’t feel that way. It feels like Brexit is right on the cusp of being delivered, at long, long, loooong last. But there are some serious hurdles that Johnson has to overcome if it is to become a reality.

I do note that I said that he stood very little chance of negotiating a deal with the EU and yet he managed it.


Big, big but.

Kim Kardashian levels of but.

In achieving a negotiated deal, he has had to concede on far too many issues. The deal is unacceptable to his opponents in Parliament.

As I wrote in last week’s Weekly Wrap-Up, Johnson’s position last week was this:

  • If he wanted to retain the support of his allies in Parliament, he would have to negotiate a deal that the EU had frequently, frankly, and firmly said they would not agree to;
  • But if he wanted to negotiate a deal that the EU agreed with, he would have to give away too many concessions and lose the support of the DUP and ERG in Parliament, whose votes he needs for a majority.

This second point is exactly what has happened. Despite the optimism surrounding a new deal, the DUP immediately rejected the deal. The ERG, or at least some of them, may well follow them.

So, when Johnson brings the deal back to Parliament on Saturday, the first time the House of Commons has sat on the weekend since the Falklands crisis, he will probably (maybe) lose.

But it’ll be close. Single-digits, absolute knife-edge close.

Saturday is going to be seismic.


This morning, a BBC News notification popped up on my phone. I genuinely thought it was a mistake when I read it : “Boris Johnson announces a deal has been struck with EU.”

And yet he had managed it.

At a cost.

So, what is this new deal? Simple Politics, a brilliant company that makes politics palatable (hey, wait…), created the infographic below that explains it:

So. What does this all mean?

Well, it means that it’s got all of the issues that came with Theresa May’s deal, but this time it’s Boris Johnson delivering it. Somehow this means that it stands more of a chance of passing, because… charisma? Funny hair? Raw sexual appeal?


I don’t know. But, somehow he stands a real chance of getting enough support to pass it.

It still remains unlikely, however.


So what comes next? Well, first and foremost, an almighty row in Parliament on Saturday. Bear in mind that Saturday will be the only time that our MPs will get a chance to examine and scrutinise the deal, let alone vote on it.

Johnson had, initially, tried to limit the Parliamentary sitting time to just ninety minutes. In the space of time that it takes to play a football match, Johnson expected the House of Commons to decide on legislation that will determine our politics, economics, and arguably society for the next few decades.

Which is typically Johnsonian – all of these negotiations have been left to the last minute in the hope that momentum carries him over the line. The devil, for Bozzle Konks, lies in the detail, and he is desperate to avoid scrutiny wherever possible.

But today, MPs voted to extend the debating time – it will now go on as long as it takes. Which means that it could end up being a very, very late vote indeed.

Odds-on that Boris will crack out a bottle of the old vino tinto at 6pm.


Momentum for a second referendum has been building, slowly but surely, over the last few weeks. It was widely believed that an amendment would be tabled to the Brexit bill on Saturday that stipulated it would only be passed if a referendum was guaranteed with it.

Boris’ new deal vs. remain.

Jo Swinson, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, even came out this morning as being in favour of this plan.

But, as the day dragged on, reports came out that the People’s Vote team wouldn’t table an amendment this weekend – instead, they will focus all of their efforts in defeating the Brexit deal. Then, when Johnson has lost, and has to ask the EU for an extension, they will strike – second referendum time, with a hope that it will be sorted once and for all.

It is worth noting that Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, did say that an extension wasn’t necessary earlier today. But whereas some normally reputable journalists excitedly reported that “AN EXTENSION IS RULED OUT”, that isn’t what he said, nor does he have the power to decide.

An extension will be granted by the EU Council, the leaders of the 27 member states, not him. And, if they refuse an extension and we leave with a hugely damaging no-deal, they will take the blame. Unsurprisingly, they will do their absolute utmost to avoid this scenario.

An extension, if requested, will almost certainly be given.

So. It all comes down to Saturday.

Pay-per-view, 9.30am. Johnson vs Corbyn / Swinson / Blackford / basically over half of the House of Commons.

It will be, without a shadow of a doubt, the most intense and important day in contemporary British politics.

By Sunday morning, Brexit will either be sorted, or we will have a good idea as to what comes next.

The end is finally in sight. One, final battle in this horrendous war. It will be the bloodiest yet.

I’ll see you there.


Hello BTLers. Apologies for not being in touch over the last couple of days.

You might have expected me to have breathlessly commented on how brilliant it was that Johnson had managed to negotiate a deal, like the rest of the mainstream press.

You might have expected me to tell you that the end is nigh, that Brexit-day is upon us, and that we’re finally going to leave the EU, like the rest of the mainstream press.

You might have expected me to tell you, definitively, what will happen next, like the rest of the mainstream press.

But why bother?

It’s all bollocks. Utter, utter bollocks.

For the last three days, we have been waiting on the EU’s decision concerning Johnson’s offer of a deal. Everyone from The Telegraph to The Guardian to Buzzfeed to Twitter has had their own take with next to no real information to go on.

It’s all bollocks. Hearsay, speculation, and nothing else.

While rumours have emerged of Johnson conceding ground on Northern Ireland, it probably won’t get the support of the DUP, and so won’t pass through Parliament.

While rumours have emerged of the EU finally making way to let a new Withdrawal Agreement happen, they haven’t. They might have cleverly rewritten it to make the idiots who voted it down the last time reconsider, though.

Read into all of this what you will, but know this: anyone who says they know what’s happening is a liar. We will only know what is going to happen late this evening.

Until then, everything is mere speculation.

Stay tuned. This is going to get wild.

QUEEN AND STUNTERY : Parliament Returns In Crucial Brexit Week

Here we are again.

Parliament, having been prorogued, is back. Brexit is still unresolved, despite us being seventeen days away from our departure date. Boris Johnson is still acting like a minor deity, despite having no power in Parliament.

However, something has noticeably changed in the air. While the hopelessness of the last few weeks led to some pretty horrendous vitriol from the mouths of the Prime Minister and Parliament as a whole, the mood music is different.

The possibility of a deal being negotiated with Brussels seemed about as likely as an Under-11 XV from North Korea winning the Rugby World Cup for most of last week. However, at a meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar last Thursday, Boris managed to bring negotiators back to the table.

Which, despite my many, many misgivings about his premiership, is quite remarkable.

As such, discussions are currently being bandied around the EU with a real, if slim, chance of a deal being struck. For the first time in a while, there is an air of real optimism.

But, even if the momentum might seem behind Bozzle Konks, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

It may yet prove a garden bridge too far for our beleaguered BoJo.


Well, not really. I just can’t resist wordplay.

Earlier today, the Queen reopened Parliament with a Queen’s Speech, where she set out the agenda for the government. This is not unusual in and of itself, but a Queen’s Speech usually sets out an agenda for around about a year.

Seeing as this government is actively calling for an election, however, there may be another Queen’s Speech by the end of the year, so they might have to wheel her out for another expensive ceremony again.

Poor Queenie. She doesn’t deserve this bollocks. She just wants to watch that nice young man Alexander Armstrong on Pointless.

Anyway, the event itself was as it normally is – ostentatious, heavily steeped in ritual, and involved a lot of wonderful hats and wigs. Not least the Crown itself, which is now too heavy for the Queen’s head, and so gets its own pillow, like a spoilt cat.

We watched the procession of the Queen from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords, where she disembarked her carriage looking like a blinged-up Yoda.

We watched Black Rod, a white woman from Wolverhampton, summon the House of Commons after getting a door ceremoniously slammed in her face.

We watched Jacob Rees-Mogg, a sentient windsock from a cemetery, be the only person part of the ceremony that looked as though it was “#justanotherMondaylol”.

And then we had the speech itself. It was, as you’d expect, standard fare for this government – low on detail, high on loose ideas on what they’d like to do. Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Chief Political Editor, described it as a “shopping list” – it’s more of a bucket list, seeing as Johnson, without a majority, can enact very little of it.

Notable mentions for:

  • Immigration: Priti Patel’s new reform for immigration to an Australian “points-based” system, designed to ensure only talented and skilled foreigners move to the UK.
  • Crime: A far tougher stance, with particular emphasis given on increased prison sentences for violent crime.
  • NHS: Yet another mention of Social Care reform, which has been the bane of multiple governments over the last decade, yet no actual plan.

But, as to be expected, Brexit took centre stage, being mentioned in the first line. Tellingly, however, the Queen did not specifically say that we are leaving on October 31st.

Instead, she said “My government’s priority has always been to secure the UK’s departure from the EU on 31st of October.” This might be an admission by the government (who write her speech for her) that they know that this deadline may not be met.

Despite all the ceremony, there was a slight element of sombreness to the proceedings. The Queen must have been left reeling by the unlawful prorogation she sanctioned a few weeks ago, and to have to read out the words of a government that is trying to push our constitution to its limits must have rankled.

While famously inscrutable, there seemed to be an increased element of detachment today. Although that is pure speculation, I must emphasise.

I am no monarchical medium.


Well, very little from the speech itself. Everything is waiting on the EU discussions around Brexit, as they will define what happens next.

Deliberations will continue this week, before a meeting of the EU Council on Thursday evening. A final decision will be made, probably in the wee small hours of Friday morning, as to whether or not to agree to a deal, or to give us an extension.

Then, for the first time since the Falklands crisis, Parliament will convene on Saturday to debate and decide on what to do next. If there is a deal, they will vote on it. If some try to add a referendum to the deal, they will vote on that, too. If there is no deal, they will vote on accepting the extension.

Saturday could well prove to be the day where Brexit was decided once and for all… or just the start of the next phase, now with added referendum / general election.

But, in the meantime, we wait on the EU. While the positive overtures from the weekend are starting to turn sour again, there may still be a chance for a deal.

Stay tuned to Between the Lines this week for all the info you need.