After I wrote today’s post on Brexit, the following news came out – and I think it’s significant:
Theresa May faces a concerted campaign of parliamentary warfare from a powerful cross-party alliance of MPs determined to use every lever at their disposal to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a deal in March.
Former staunch loyalist Sir Oliver Letwin signalled that he and other senior Conservatives would defy party whips, repeatedly if necessary, to avoid a no-deal Brexit, as the government suffered a humiliating defeat during a debate on the finance bill in the Commons.
Letwin and 16 other former government ministers were among 20 Conservatives who banded together with home affairs select committee chair, Yvette Cooper, and the Labour leadership to pass an anti no-deal amendment.
They defeated the government by 303 votes to 296 – a majority of seven.
The move came after May conceded to senior ministers she is on course to lose next week’s historic Brexit vote, as the first cabinet meeting of the new year exposed deep divisions about the best way out of the deadlock.
What this means
As I said earlier today and as the Guardian corroborates, Theresa May will lose in the House of Commons next week when she puts her deal to a vote. But, now we see that the Commons is also against a No-Deal Brexit as well. To me, this leaves only one likely outcome: the UK will remain in the EU beyond the 29 March deadline.
Now, things could still change. But if both May’s deal and a no-deal Brexit are dead on arrival in the Commons, Theresa May will have no alternative but to try and delay Brexit or revoke Article 50 altogether. If I were a betting man, I would tip for Article 50 revocation.