If you thought Brexit had descended into farce after last week’s votes, this week has brought no respite and, in fact, has got considerably worse.
As the clock continues to tick down to 29th March and a no deal exit, Parliament has once again become mired in delay, following the Speaker’s decision to invoke a rule from 1604, designed to stop the same point being voted on twice — and the PM’s determination to bring back her deal a third time in exchange for a short extension is stuck in debate with the EU.
But what does this all really mean?
With a week to go until Brexit, we are edging ever closer to the deadline with diminishing hope of a clear way forward. With the EU summit happening today, some will be hopeful that further changes can be secured to the withdrawal agreement or that a longer extension is forced back on the table, so that there is more time to come up with a plan and the spectre of no deal recedes slightly. But it remains to be seen what emerges at the end of today’s talks.
Early this week, Jasmine’s statement to the media highlighted that: “We are drifting into a worst-of-both-worlds short extension that fails to take no deal off the table and potentially only delays a disastrous outcome. The PM’s insistence that she will bring back her failed deal to a third vote, so close to the deadline, will provide zero reassurance to London’s businesses that the Government has a plan that can get us out of this mess. Now is the time for clear leadership: we should stop the clock, revoke Article 50 and give Parliament time to find a way forward. And if it can’t do that, put the decision back to the people. ”
Revoking Article 50 is the only unilateral way for us to avoid a no deal; a position which is now increasingly gaining traction. As Brussels continues to ask for a clear plan in return for an extension, unless we take decisive action soon, we will lose control of how we leave, exiting by default without a deal.
Last week, Jasmine was interviewed by BBC London ahead of the vote on an extension, outlining the London First view on why now is the time to take this step and what a no deal means for business. A little later in the day, our Communications Director Laura Osborne gave our reaction after the vote, reiterating the point that although an extension is in theory welcome, only a decision to revoke Article 50 can guarantee it.
We were also highlighting the impact of Brexit on the UK economy last week at MIPIM, with Jasmine setting out not only the risks to jobs and growth, but also for the need to look beyond Brexit, to all the things we need to do to keep London great in the future. We need to see decisive action from the Government now – it is time to step up, revoke Article 50 and take the time needed to come up with a way forward. If that can’t be done, the decision should go back to the people.
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