Interesting talks ahead for Theresa May in Brussels after a lengthy evening in Parliament last night….
Parliament can agree it hates a no deal – but not on a way to prevent it. The only question now is whether or not a majority can be formed for a negotiated Brexit, or whether we leave without a deal.
Brexit is going to happen with the only question being on what terms it will happen. That’s the inescapable conclusion of last night’s votes, which saw MPs reject three amendments to exert even a measure of direct control over the process.
Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment was the first to be defeated, and even its suggestion of a second vote was too strong to retain the support of every Labour MP. Two further amendments, each with legislative force Dominic Grieve’s and Yvette Cooper’s – were then rejected by larger majorities.
So what happens next?
MP’s will have to focus in on how to prevent a no deal; but the reality is that a Parliament that is hesitant even to delay Brexit when the cliff-edge is a little over 50 days away is not going to stop Brexit anytime soon.
What feels likeliest now is that Parliament’s desire to avoid a no deal Brexit means that it ends up voting for something that looks very similar to May’s deal. The only question that springs to mind is whether or not Jeremy Corbyn can succeed in retaining Britain’s membership of the customs union after Brexit.
Watch this space!