Guide to the Brexit shambles

The House of Commons, writes Dalrymple, has

deprived Theresa May of leverage with which to renegotiate, because it voted that it would not accept leaving the European Union without a deal.

This, he says,

deprived the EU of any reason to renegotiate anything: it was a pre-emptive surrender to the demands of Brussels that makes Neville Chamberlain look like a hard-bitten poker champion.

Dalrymple explains that May,

who will not take no for an answer, wants to try a fourth time to get her deal through Parliament. This is unprecedented: no unchanged bill is supposed to be presented to Parliament more than twice. May therefore much prefers to violate the constitution than to lose.

Dalrymple explains that four options remain:

  1. Parliament could accept May’s deal. If it does, it discredits itself by its abject surrender and futile previous resistance to what it claimed was a bad deal. If it was a bad deal before, it is a bad deal now.
  2. Britain could leave without a deal. This would cause disruption, but only for a relatively short period.
  3. Britain could hold another referendum. It is by no means certain what the result would be. If the result were the same, it would be back to square one. If the result were different, it would reinforce what is a European tradition: referenda as confirmatory plebiscites of what the political class wants, exactly as Napoleon III used them.
  4. The Government and Parliament could unilaterally revoke Article 50, which, incidentally, was framed by a British diplomat with the express purpose of making it difficult for any country to leave the EU. This would annul the result of the referendum. It would also have long-term and intangible damaging effects on Britain as a parliamentary democracy.

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