How complicated can it be to extend Article 50? . . . . . . How long have you got?
Thursday 14th March 2019
The UK is completely in the shit over Brexit, and even if MPs had agreed a deal last night there isn't enough time to get though all the parliamentary business required before March 29 when the UK will automatically fall out of the EU. So, it is a fact that with 16 days to go an extension to Article 50 is urgently required. You'd think therefore that this part of the process would be simple.
But it seems that getting something as simple as asking the EU for more time, in order to avoid catastrophe, passed by parliament, even when everyone agrees it's necessary, ain't that straight forward.
If I've got this right before they get to vote of the main motion to extend Article 50 MPs must debate and vote on four amendments, which are:
- (H) Delay Article 50 . . . in order to hold a new referendum.
- (I) Delay Article 50 . . . in order to put Parliament (not Theresa May's Gov't) in charge of deciding what happens next in Brexit process.
- (E) Delay Article 50 . . . to give Parliament time to come up with a way forward that a majority can agree on.
- (J) Delay Article 50 . . . and block Theresa May from again trying to get her twice defeated Brexit deal passed by parliament.
Still with me? Now, as I understand it, if amendment H is approved, then I and E won't be voted on, only J, and then the main (or substantive) motion to extend Article 50. But if H is voted down, MPs must then vote o I, which I think would mean that E may or may not be voted upon, depending on the outcome of the vote for I. Whatever happens MPs will, I'm pretty sure, vote on J.
Hopefully at the end of the evening we will have some kind of resolution to go to the EU and ask for an extension to Article 50. But if things get crazy like they did last night, we might end up deciding to give the Elgin Marbles back to Greece in exchange for a weeks' B&B for 2 in Mykonos.
Seriously though, I'm not sure what will happen if parliament approves H (to hold a new referendum). Maybe it can be decided by a all-in wrestling match, with the winner choosing the future of the nation. Sounds pretty appealing at this stage!
We could of course reform parliament . . . . .
Or maybe just watch something on Netflix, and fall asleep with a pistol and a bottle of scotch by the side of the bed?