Chancellor Philip Hammond has said it will be "impossible" for the UK to leave the EU by 31 October, and it was not "sensible" for Tory leadership candidates "to box themselves into a corner on this". This, of course, contrasts with a number of said candidates who are saying that's absolutely what must happen.
Speaking at a Bloomberg conference, Mr Hammond said: "Parliament will not allow a no-deal exit from the EU, and our experience to date has suggested that it may not be that easy to agree a deal in Parliament.
"I don't think it would be in our national interest that we drive towards this cliff edge at speed."
Mr Hammond also said the EU was not going to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement. He added that, if Parliament does not find a Brexit compromise, “we will have to go back to people through democratic process, either with a referendum or general election to test public opinion again on this question.”
That's all very well, but at the moment, we are leaving the EU on 31st October. Parliament can legislate all it likes but unless:
1. we ask for an extension, and
2. We are granted an extension, then we will be leaving on 31st October this year.
The EU has very firmly said that the deal that May negotiated is the only deal they will do. So at the moment our options (if all the above proves to be the case in fact) are:
1. Parliament votes for the May deal and we exit on those terms on 31st October, or
2. We exit on 31st October without a deal.
Parliament has voted the May deal down how many times? 3? 4? So unless something radical happens, then we're leaving on 31st October without a deal whatever legislation Parliament passes.
At some stage Macron and his chums are going to say that enough is enough and we are having no more pointless extensions when it is clear that we do eff all in the interim to change the situation.
As things stand its blue passports and as many curved cucumbers as we want as of 31st October.
He's showing more vision that his rivals. And is astute enough to manoeuvre the other parties into being shown as blocking Brexit. Which (as was shown in the local and European elections) is electorally toxic.
I missed this the first time around: These are the 10 people who have been truly driven off the deep end by Brexit…
AC Grayling – Where else to begin? Grayling has become Twitter’s nutty professor, every day pumping out increasingly unhinged anti-Brexit diatribes. Some highlights include labelling Brexiteers “vermin“, seeking a general strike to oppose Brexit, claiming “90% of informed opinion” is against Brexit, alleging other ultra-Remainers were being “silenced” by forces of the state, and arguing that the Tory government is “alt-right”. Grayling is alt-reality.
Andrew Adonis – Every day he tweets about “stopping” or “halting” Brexit, which he calls “self-mutilation”. Some of his more vitriolic attacks are reserved for fellow Remainers who he reckons have sold out, he claims for example that Brexit is being driven by a “David Davis-Keir Starmer axis”. Peak Adonis was when he wrote to Lord Hall demanding the BBC sack Andrew Neil. Remarkably he still has a government job…
Ben Bradshaw – Bradshaw has taken to tweeting out Louise Mensch blog posts citing “multiple sources with links to UK intelligence” who apparently say the referendum should be voided due to Russian intervention. Yesterday he tweeted that it was time for the Tories “to come clean about extent of Kremlin’s reach into heart of Government”. Friends don’t let friends retweet Louise Mensch.
Carole Cadwalladr – Cadwalladr appears to genuinely believe Brexit was a Russian plot, she has claimed the Leave campaign used psy-ops to hoodwink voters and doesn’t appear to realise she is being elaborately trolled by Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore who have christened her “Carole Codswallop”. Last night she suggested lifelong Eurosceptic Michael Gove only backed Vote Leaveon the orders of the Legatum Institute, who she reckons are agents of Putin. It’s so ridiculous even Newsnight have taken the piss. The Observer’s continued indulging of her conspiracy theories seems almost exploitative.
Tim Walker – The waspish former diary columnist delights in dishing out snark, but thin-skinned Tim can’t take it when his conspiratorial babble is called out. The former Telegraph man turned freelancer and New European contributor reckons “Putin will continue to govern this country through stupid, weak, vain, greedy politicians so long as we, the people, are prepared to sit back and let him”. Cuckoo.
Jolyon Maugham – Twitter’s most attention-seeking QC once said he considers it an honour that he is known as “the biggest c**t at the English bar”. Brexit has turned him mad as well as bad. Just read how nasty Maugham was to the genial Danny Finkelstein about Article 50. And who can forget the time he decided to set up a new political party to fight Brexit. Always a telltale sign of a Brexdown.
Jeremy Cliffe – Talking of which, the Economist’s Berlin correspondent started The Radicals, seriously pledging to reverse Brexit, join the Euro, join the EU army and make Ken Clarke the next European Commission president. He quit the party after 12 hours following an all-staff internal email bollocking from his bosses. The Economist’s embarrassment was the happiest the FT newsroom has been all year.
Liam Byrne – Byrne is partly responsible for setting off the Russia conspiracy theorists (and the Mail on Sunday), demanding a “US-style judge-led inquiry”in response to a Louise Mensch blog. He’s tweeted out crank articles quoting intelligence “sources” saying the referendum will need to be re-run. He’s in danger of going the full Bradshaw. And Liam, we really need to talk about the beard.
Tom Brake – There has always been something of the night about Tom Brake, and the mood of parliament’s most humourless MP has not been helped by Brexit. When he’s not complaining to Bercow about Guido, Brake is making a fool of himself about Legatum. LibDem press officers play a game where they compete to put the most OTT lines into his press releases, knowing Brake will never tell them to tone it down.
Alastair Campbell – Okay so he always was a few billion short of a trade deal, but Bad Al is really not taking things well at the moment. He calls Leavers “Brextremists”, compared them to jihadists and even launched into a xenophobic rant against Gisela Stuart. He’s not gone in for the Putin stuff to be fair. Though that’s possibly more to do with his own Russia Todayappearances.