An impending sense of doom stalks the corridors of Westminster this morning after last night’s historic Government defeat over the EU Withdrawal Agreement .
The May compromise deal delivered too little to too many but not enough to anyone, except perhaps the EU27. It was bound to fail !
And fail it did in historic proportions (by 230 votes). No Government has been so convincingly defeated in UK Parliamentary history.
Today the Government faces a vote of non confidence tabled by the Official Opposition, the Labour Party. However this likely to be a side show. Government rebels and the Ulster Unionists are likely to back the Government and the motion is likely to be easily defeated.Whilst it is clear that the Government can’t command the confidence of the House on Brexit the prospect of a general election seems even less appealing to most of those on the Conservative benches.
So the current Government is likely to listlessly carry on pursuing some sort of Brexit Plan B. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that neither the Government nor any other faction in Parliament has any idea about how to break the deadlock. So what is likely to happen now?
• Parliament passes legislation to hold a second referendum on the May deal or remaining in the EU (with the need of an extension of Article 50 to facilitate it).
The EU may be ready to extend Article 50, but it will be less amenable to negotiate further with the current discredited Government. No tinkering with the recently defeated deal is going to reverse a majority of 230 .Secondly no House of Commons will openly admit it has failed and unilaterally repeal the Withdrawal Act unless in an act of political desperation (we are not quite there yet !).
So the odds are on a second referendum to neatly pass the “buck” to the People which curiously enough is probably not a bad place to end up