The Prime Minister has at last published a 585 page draft Brexit withdrawal agreement which pleases almost nobody. Four Ministers, including the Brexit Minister himself have resigned from the Government in protest, and more may have done so by the time you read this. The Prime Minister herself may no longer be in post as some Conservative MPs are attempting to force a leadership contest via a no confidence vote.
After two years of botched negotiations, this deal fails on every level. Whether you voted leave or remain, nobody voted for a deal that will make us poorer and do nothing to protect jobs, rights, consumer and environmental protections, or the economy. Now we can see the actual result of the government’s negotiations, it’s clear that far from ‘taking back control’, the withdrawal agreement gives the UK less control over the rules governing our country – as Theresa May herself has stated. It is now absolutely plain that the chance of a deal with terms better than we have as a Member of the EU has always been an impossibility.
The deal as it stands has virtually no chance of getting Parliamentary approval and EU leaders have firmly dismissed any chance of renegotiating. The DUP, the SNP, the Lib Dems and Labour will not support it and both Brexiteers and Remainers alike on the Government’s backbenches have vowed to oppose it, but as I said in my last update, a deal voted down by Parliament cannot be a mandate for a catastrophic no deal. No government has the right to plunge the country into chaos as a result of their own failure.
Last month, hundreds of thousands of people marched in London to demand a ‘people’s vote’ on the final terms of any Brexit deal. I have been agnostic about such an approach, as in our parliamentary democracy, my preference has been for the decision on the final deal to be taken by parliament. But I now believe that if parliament votes down the deal, as looks likely, the only way out of the impasse will be to return to the country by way of a People’s Vote, in order to avoid a constitutional crisis. With recent polling data showing a significant change in the public mood towards remaining, I believe the options put before the electorate must include the option to remain in the EU.