What Next in the Brexit Saga?

There are, yet again, several possible Brexit scenarios in the weeks ahead:

  1. Johnson sits on his hands, allows the clock to tick down until the 31 October deadline, and Britain leaves the EU without a deal, despite what Johnson previously promised and despite the fact that Parliament has voted against such a chaotic and costly outcome. He may prorogue Parliament to facilitate such an outcome (although attempts are underway in the courts and  in Parliament to preclude that).
  2. Parliament legislates to make it illegal for a Prime Minster to take us out without a deal, forcing him to request an extension of the Art 50 deadline, either:
      • by amending a government bill to that effect
      • or by suspending Standing Order 14 so that a bill can be introduced by ordinary MPs, and then such a bill being adopted.
  3. The Commons adopts a vote of no confidence in the government. Under the fixed term Parliament Act, either:
      • a new PM secures majority support. This could in theory be:
        • either the Leader of the Opposition
        • OR a new Conservative PM, after promising to extend the Art 50 deadline
        • OR a respected MP leading a “Government of National Uniity” – or more likely a Temporary Emergency Government,
          • either for the sole purpose of requesting an extension of the Art 50 deadline and then giving way to allow an election
          • or for the dual purpose of requesting an extension of the Art 50 deadline and organising a public vote on Brexit and then resigning to allow an election
      • OR there is insufficient support for any new PM, so there is a general election, with either:
        • a date fixed before the Brexit deadline (possibly an extended deadline)
        • or with a date fixed after the deadline (though this would be highly controversial and possibly illegal).
  4. Johnson decides not to face down the parliamentary majority that opposes a no-deal Brexit, and himself triggers either
        • a general election
        • or a referendum.

In the general election scenarios, several outcomes are possible (the most likely being either a majority for the Conservatives, a majority for Labour, or a hung Parliament with balance held by the LibDems and/or the SNP). These outcomes depend on the state of public opinion combined with factors such as:

    • whether there is a deal between the Tories and Farage, with the Brexit company not standing candidates (or only a few in selected seats)
    • whether there is a far reaching alliance between two or more of the LibDems, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP (and whether there is any tacit arrangement with Labour)
    • whether there is no such formal alliance (or only a limited one) but instead (or as well) a Remainer “coupon” whereby a Remain organisation designates (in, say, 100 key constituencies) the candidate most likely to beat an incumbent (usually Tory) Brexiter and invites people to vote for them, and whether that is effective.

In the referendum scenarios (either called by Johnson, or after an election if it results in a Labour majority or a hung Parliament):

    • either Remain wins
    • or it doesn’t and we proceed to either:
      • a no-deal Brexit
      • or a new deal Brexit after further negotiations.
All of the above have possible further sub-variants.
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