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Tuesday 2 April 2019

Theresa May will hold a marathon cabinet meeting today following the defeat last night of all four Brexit blocking options put to the Commons during Oliver Letwin’s Remainer takeover of the House.

The suspicion is Number 10 had hoped the option of remaining in the Customs Union would received a majority, opening up the prospect of frightening Brexiteer MPs into backing the same damned deal. A CU vote would also have opened up a route out of the impasse with an even less credible withdrawal deal, supported by a large cohort from the opposition. Thankfully, both avenues have now been cut off.

Options to discuss at cabinet today are as follows: No Deal, a long extension, or get the deal passed – somehow. The first choice is the only one not fraught with difficulty. Guy Verhofstadt, of all people, admitted as such last night, tweeting: “A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable.”

The likelihood is the PM will put her deal back to the Commons a fourth and final time. Encouragingly, fourteen out of twenty-seven of the cabinet now back No Deal. They will probably agree to put the deal back to the the Commons yet again, on the condition that, if it fails, we leave on WTO terms. It’s an alluring prospect, but don’t bet on it. There are plenty of Remainers in there too.

Furthermore, last night the Brexit Secretary reiterated the government’s commitment to avoiding No Deal: “The only option is to find a way through that allows the UK to leave with a deal… The best course of action is to do so as soon as possible.”

Note, the Sun have caught wind of a plan to put the deal to the Commons in a run-off against remaining in the Customs Union on Wednesday.

In the event of the Customs Union getting a forced majority under those circumstances, or if the deal fails yet again, the prime minister is expected to present herself in Brussels and ask for a significant extension (yet again). When it comes to avoiding no deal Brexit, this lady is not for turning.

However, Lithuania’s president is known to be against dragging this farce out any longer. Emmanuel Macron has made similar noises. They, and all other EU27 leaders have a veto.

According to a Times correspondent, see (tweet below) attitudes in the EU capital are hardening towards No Deal as a means of pressing “reset” on the future relationship.

No Deal will automatically unravel the fabricated dilemma over the Irish border, immediately restoring Britain’s bargaining position. A reasonable trade deal will then be possible and the wind sucked out of Remainer sails. Second referendum talk will have been silenced. We will also be £39bn better off, although the government has suggested it would still pay at least half that.

Seeing last night’s indicative votes fail certainly made for pleasant viewing, as did Nick Boles’ resignation following the resounding defeat of his stupid Common Market 2.0 proposal for a second time.

“Oh Nick, don’t got, come on” pleaded a colleague, semi-mockingly. No Nick please go. He should have quit weeks ago when he lost a no confidence motion at his local Party’s AGM.

Finally, the Sun reveals nine of ten Brexit voters feel they’ve been sold out by the government’s handling of Brexit. That’s because they have. A Com Res poll found that two-thirds of Brits, Remainers and Leavers feel the same. 60% say their faith in politics is at an all time low. Most significantly, out of a choice between yet more delay and leaving now without terms, a majority (57%) favour the latter.