Yesterday the Prime Minister delayed the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement because she was sure to lose by a huge margin. In response, I challenged two cabinet ministers.
Both Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom and Brexit Secretary of State Stephen Barclay refused to say when we might be able to vote. Meanwhile, the chaos yesterday made the cliff-edge, ‘no deal’ scenario even more likely. In response the pound fell to its lowest level in almost two years.
So what next? May is now desperately travelling around Europe, trying to find some reassurance that the controversial ‘backstop’ can be changed. Unfortunately, this looks very unlikely, even by her own reckoning. Only a couple of days ago, she was insisting this is the only deal available.
It is clear: the Brexiteers’ dream departure from the EU, which is driving the government, is impossible to deliver. This is obvious to everyone apart from the Prime Minister, who is still fighting to maintain the fantasy.
The government must bring the Withdrawal Agreement to a parliamentary vote. And they must do it soon. If they lose, which seems likely, MPs will decide what happens next. The Prime Minister’s hopeless mission to Europe just wastes more time. And with little more than 100 days left, this is now becoming critical.