I have been trying to avoid obsessing over Brexit for the past few months. For all the shouting among UK politicians and all the breathless reporting in the press, nothing has really changed since December. A withdrawal agreement has been negotiated and Parliament still needs to decide whether to ratify it, or crash out of the EU with no deal or revoke Article 50 and bring this whole sorry mess to an end.
With that in mind, Chris Grey makes a point worth repeating.
An additional issue to consider is whether the EU would countenance an extension anyway
Much of the recent Parliamentary maneuverings have been around forcing Boris Johnson to request an extension to Britain’s EU membership before the exit date of October 31st. What no-one seems to be taking into account is that there is no guarantee that the EU will agree to such a request. Furthermore, given that the UK is still running around in circles, there is a good chance that leaders of the other EU countries will say no.
Back in March, when Theresa May asked for an extension, Macron was very vocal about not wanting the UK to still be sucking up the EU’s time and attention after the EU parliament elections in May. While he was the most vocal of the EU leaders, he wasn’t completely isolated and several other countries were leaning towards the view that, if the UK is going to crash out anyway, it would be better to cut the process short and get it over with.
After that extension was granted, Parliament immediately went on holiday and then the Conservative party decided that the best use of their time would be to organise yet another leadership election. And now the UK is stuck with a prime minister whose dishonesty is so bare-faced that no-one — not even his own brother — is willing to trust him.
Parliament probably is going to force Johnson to ask for an extension and, when he does so, the leaders of the other EU countries will ask what would be the point of such an extension. I am not convinced that the UK has a good answer to this.