What happens next? The Surrender Act 2019 is law, the Advocate General has assured the Court of Session that the Government will comply, but the Cabinet have reasserted that no extension will be made to Brexit Day. The clock is ticking, the fireworks are almost in the shops, and the Parliamentary wolves are at the heels. The hard Remainders know it is their last moment or hope, and Labour know that this is the moment at which Boris can be broken, and if the Boris Bubble bursts, they are back in the game. You see, as I have observed before, it is not really about Europe.
Now Angela Merkel has lobbed her parting shot – she is retiring soon and does not have to take responsibility any more. That leaves innumerable questions, but we can ask:
- Will Boris sign and send the extension letter which the Abject Prostration Before Brussels Act prescribes?
- How will he send it (if not by carrier pigeon, which has been ruled out)?
- Is there a loophole?
- If the letter is sent, and reaches Brussels, how does Boris stop the Commission from seizing on it and forcing an extension?
- Will the Commission or one of the remaining member states veto an extension?
- Is the Commission’s carefully worded response a measured tactic, or genuine?
- Is Angela Merkel’s latest statement a negotiating tactic or a killing stroke to the deal, and is she in charge anyway?
- How do we read Donald Tusk’s rebuke to the German, when he has previously been negative towards London?
- Can Jean-Claude Juncker in his last days in office sign the deal on his personal authority as a treaty on behalf of the Commission, bypassing objections from member states?
- Or can Donald Tusk sign for the Council?
- How will the landscape change when the new Commission gathers on 1 November 2019 (if it matters by then)?
- In Parliament, will any of the Blue Rebels be won over at the last minute?
- If a deal is agreed, will Parliament approve it this time, given that most of the Blue Rebels say they are in favour of Brexit with a deal, and voted for the May deal?
- If the United Kingdom crashes out dealless, will Boris sign a post-completion agreement, bypassing Section 13?
- Will Stormont meet, and what will they do?
- How many more vain legal challenges will Jolyon Maugham be paid to run in the meantime?
- How many other political parties will Heidi Allen join before the parliamentary session is over?
The answer to all these question is the same: I don’t know – why ask me?
- The Withdrawal Agreement: a commentary
- Fixing the Withdrawal Agreement
- Quid pro quo: repeal Section 13
- Westminster in the exit endgame
- Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of a New Era by Liam Fox
- Making a Success of Brexit and Reforming the EU by Roger Bootle
- Brexit: Its Necessity and Challenge by Tony Kosuge
- Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe by Denis MacShane
- Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley
- Brexit: How Britain Left Europe by Denis MacShane
- Beyond Brexit: Towards a British Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor
- By Boris Johnson:
- By David Cameron:
- By Margaret Thatcher:
- Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, by Charles Moore:
- Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality by Jonathan Aitken
- Margaret Thatcher in Her Own Words (CD-Audio, ed. Ian Dale)