Brexit: the End Game?

The UK government is to ask the Queen to prorogue parliament. It is another move in the game of chess that is Brexit. The stakes are high. Yesterday opposition leaders in parliament agreed to find ways to take hold of the parliamentary agenda so that they could pass legislation to halt a no-deal Brexit.

No deal is the default position. All Boris Johnson needs to do is to sit tight and prevent parliament from voting and there will be a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. There is a lot of shouting about parliamentary coups and constitutional crisis. No doubt there will be a legal challenge in the courts. But the sad truth is No-Dealers have the upper hand.

That is why Boris Johnson is in No 10 as Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the opposition scurries around and, frankly, can't get their act together. They are still too busy moving their pawns around and ignoring the possibility of CheckMate. What Johnson is doing by proroguing parliament is castling to defend his position. That is all he needs to do.

 Remain and deal MPs seem utterly devoid of tactics. It is obvious that the way to stop a government in parliament is to bring it down with a confidence motion. In fact, it is the only way. Scrabbling around finding ways to take over the legislative agenda risks not working and taking valuable effort and time. It is unlikely to succeed.

Sadly, a confidence motion is also unlikely to work because some remain MPs and those who want a deal won't back it. Why? Because it might put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10! If they dropped this red line, then it would work. So, what is their priority? It is time MPs who do not want a Brexit without a deal got behind the most obvious way forward. It is also the most constitutional way in our parliamentary democracy.

I have little sympathy with those MPs who say under no circumstances would they support a Corbyn led caretaker government. It seems to me that it is the only constitutional way forward for them, else they get a no-deal Brexit.

 I have also to say that ardent Remainers have to take some share of the responsibility for the current impasse. They helped turn this into an in/out division with little room for compromise. They need now to unite behind a sensible end game. It beggars belief they would rather have Boris Johnson in Downing Street, rather than back a caretaker government under the current Leader of the Opposition.

In the last general election, all the major parties campaigned on manifestos for a negotiated Brexit. Had they been able to unite behind a deal, then this could have been put back to the people in a second referendum. That option is fading fast. The only way there can be a new people's vote is for there to be a sensible deal to vote on.

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