MPs will attempt to force the government to return with an alternative to Theresa May’s Brexit deal within three days of her plan being defeated in parliament.
MPs are planning to table an amendment to a business motion that anticipates Theresa May’s deal being rejected and says: “a minister of the crown shall table within three sitting days a motion … considering the process of exiting the European Union under article 50”. This is to prevent the government from sitting on their hands after the expected defeat and then resubmitting the deal once time has run out for all other options.
Obviously, the amendment may not make it into the bill, but if it does, just letting the clock tick down ceases to be an option. But there aren’t many other options out there.
The EU have made clear that they are not willing to re-open negotiations into the withdrawal agreement and, even if that was not the case, anyone who tells you they can renegotiate this in the two and a half months left to go is either dishonest or delusional.
I don’t see the EU agreeing to extend the Article 50 negotiation period unless the UK suddenly comes up with a very clear idea of what they are trying to achieve. So we can rule that option out, unless the government that they really do want to put the existing options (May’s deal, no deal or no Brexit) to the public in a second (third, if you count 1975) referendum.
And if time runs out for a referendum, then the only option I can see is for Parliament to decide to revoke the Article 50 notification itself and cancel Brexit.
The hard Brexiters have broken their own Brexit. It remains to be seen whether Parliament will finally take back control.