Thursday 21 March 2019

'Macron will veto any delay to Brexit unless Mrs May has a clear plan' and she doesn't really

Emmanuel Macron will veto any delay to Brexit, according to this report in Le Point, the French weekly political and news magazine, unless Theresa May comes up with un projet clair, a clear project or plan. 

But her only plan is to find a way in which she can continue presenting her proposal to the House of Commons, even though the Speaker has told her that she cannot. 

She can find a way of doing so but there is no reason to suppose she can persuade Brexiteers to vote for it. They have much less incentive to do so if the delay is only a short one. 

A long delay, which she wanted but was forced by the cabinet to drop, would mean she could threaten Brexiteers that the 2016 referendum might become ancient history and lose its authority. 

The other European Union leaders are expected today to set the date for Brexit, but only to grant an extension when and if the House of Commons backs May’s deal, which the House is much less likely to do than before the Speaker's coup de théâtre and the application for a short delay.

However, Paul Taylor writes in his Politico column today that the EU will grant a delay from self interested motives. 
“No EU country wants to be blamed for precipitating a no-deal Brexit that would inflict severe economic damage not just on the U.K. but also its nearest neighbours. So, no one is likely to veto a postponement if London requests one. Nor does the EU have any right to impose terms on May … Doing so would not only violate British sovereignty; it would also set a precedent that could rebound on other member states in future.”
Brexit was a very boring thriller but now, after so many tedious episodes, it has become nail-biting. 

The BBC Radio Four news makes little secret of the BBC collective view that a hard Brexit would be a disaster. The BBC thinks a short delay is likely, but the reporter Adam Fleming just said 
" I have to say this [the danger of a last-minute unplanned hard Brexit] makes me feel a little bit ill".
The programme then moves on to talk about the hardships faced by illegal immigrants in detention.  

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