Brexit Rebel Leader Now "90% Sure We Will Drop Out With 'No Deal'"

After months of trying, a cross-party group of backbenchers finally succeeded late last month in wresting control of the Commons agenda from the government in an unprecedented move. But in an indication of just how dysfunctional the Brexit process has become, the group's hopes for formulating a consensus around an alternative to Theresa May's now thrice-rejected withdrawal agreement have been dashed, as the Commons has rejected every alternative proposal raised during two separate indicative votes over the past week.

Now, with Speaker Bercow reportedly contemplating stopping May from bringing her deal back for a fourth vote, and different factions in the Commons demanding the prime minister push for a "managed" no deal exit (a possibility that the EU has already rejected) while another pushes May to ask for a lengthy Article 50 extension, and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warning that a no-deal exit for Britain is looking "more likely by the day" and that extending Article 50 would pose "significant risks."

Another group of Brexiteer cabinet ministers is reportedly urging May to issue a "final ultimatum" for the EU to change the Irish Backstop, while Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is reportedly planning to admonish the Commons for failing to deliver Brexit, and urge them to now consider calling another referendum.

Letwin

Sir Oliver Letwin

Amid the chaos, Sir Oliver Letwin, the leader of the backbenchers group, told Sky News on Tuesday that he has no plans to call for another indicative vote on Wednesday, though his group will once again control the agenda thanks to a business motion passed yesterday. Furthermore, in perhaps the clearest sign that Letwin, the would-be Brexit savior, has thrown in the towel, he reportedly said he's now "90% sure we'll drop out with No Deal." His ally Nick Boles, who sponsored a proposal in Monday's indicative vote that would have called for a softer Brexit, resigned the Tory whip and left the conservative party last night after blaming the party for failing to get its shit together.

Meanwhile, No. 10 officials reportedly told the cabinet during a five-hour marathon meeting on Tuesday that if the Commons doesn't pass May's withdrawal agreement on the fourth attempt, that the most likely alternative would be a lengthy extension of Brexit. Though it's unclear how they arrived at this conclusion, considering the EU has said it probably won't approve another extension.

As the Commons splinters into competing factions, another group of cross-party MPs is preparing to put forward a bill that would try to definitively rule out 'No Deal'...though it's not exactly clear how this would work (remember, MPs have already ruled it out in a non-binding vote). For now at least, the pound has erased its gains from overnight on the latest batch of disheartening Brexit news...though if 'No Deal' is confirmed during an emergency EU summit later this month, analysts see more downside ahead.

GBP

Tags