Whatever happened to “no more extensions”? Extension is not inevitable, but may be probable. It removes the urgency upon Parliament to process the Withdrawal Agreement and may encourage some to withdraw their consent from the terms agreed.
The EU has forgotten though the stinger in the Surrender Act, introduced in the Kinnock Amendment: if the government is forced to accede to an extension, it is empowered only to agree to the Malthouse Compromise, which means dropping the whole Ulster Protocol. That will not go down particularly well in Dublin. Before they formalise this ‘flextension’, will they think about that?
The elephant in the room has used his Tusk. It is not all in their favour though.
The Boris-version Withdrawal Agreement was agreed specifically for the Reformation Day exit date. If it slips by, everything is up for grabs again, or would be were it not for the Surrender Act insisting on the Agreement minus the Protocol.
As it happens, the date proposed by the European Council is not a fixed date, out on 31 January and no earlier: it is a last date. Article 50 states that exit happens when a Withdrawal Agreement comes into effect, which could be Thursday, or Friday.
We go back to what we wrote before on this: the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is unnecessarily complicated, which was a gift to Labour. DExEU took their eye off the ball. A one-page bridging bill would have sufficed and could get through in days. If they are not spooked by the apparent 3 months more – it could still be three days.
- All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class by Tim Shipman
- Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley
- Brexit: How the Nobodies Beat the Somebodies by Sebastian J. Handley
- For the Record by David Cameron
- Brexit and Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response by Tom Connelly
- Beyond Brexit by Vernon Bogdanor
- From Partition to Brexit: The Irish Government and Northern Ireland by Donnacha O Beachain
- Brexit: Its Necessity and Challenge by Tony Kosuge
- Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of a New Era by Liam Fox
- By Boris Johnson: