The hopes of remain Politicians everywhere were buoyed earlier today when Donald Tusk formally announced that the EU27 had agreed to give the UK a flextension up until 31st January, 2020. Now, this flextension means that the UK can leave before the 31st if Parliament agrees to the deal that Boris Johnson managed to get from the EU previously. But what does this all mean now?
Well, one thing is for sure, the vote that is happening 5 pm today in the Commons on whether to hold a General Election before Christmas is more likely to be slanted in some direction. And with some arguing that this extension has effectively taken No Deal off the table, there might be a sign of hope for Johnson, in that MPs might finally vote in favour of a General Election either on 12th December as he hopes for, or even 9th December as suggested by the SNP and the Lib Dems.
Furthermore, if MPs vote in favour of an election, Johnson has said that he would restart efforts to get his Withdrawal Agreement made into law, and ensure that Britain can at least begin trying to leave the EU, rather than remain in limbo for another god knows how long. Given the results of a recent poll which found 54% of those polled believed the UK should keep to the result of that 2016 referendum, this could well be a game changer for Boris.
Should Boris get a vote in his favour for a General Election, he could potentially play any campaign off as a ‘People v Parliament’ pointing out how he has abided by everything asked of him, he even tried to keep his ‘do or die’ pledge but Parliament prevented him from doing so. He could spin a web of out of touch politicians and how they want to remain in the EU and ignore the referendum result. He could do a lot of things, if he gets that vote in favour of his election.
But there does also remain that caveat that if he gets his general election vote, and he gets the withdrawal agreement through-unlikely as it is- who knows what he would bring to the table. The Tories have been in power for nine years, they’ve overseen cuts everywhere, and of course with that in mind Boris could suffer like May did in 2017. Though Boris is not May, and actually has some charisma, it is difficult to see what could happen in an election that pits him against Corbyn who does not have the same charisma or pull.
Of course, just because the EU has agreed to this extension or flextension, does not mean that Parliament will agree to vote for a general election or even for the agreement that Boris brought back from Brussels. If there is anything this Parliament has shown over the past two years, it is that it is very good at saying what it doesn’t want and terrible and saying what it wants. There is every chance that this Parliament, wracked with tension and division as it is, will vote against a general election, only to keep Boris plodding along, and out of fear of their own jobs. There is every chance they will vote against this Withdrawal Agreement once more, for no other reason than simple self interest.
If that happens, one thing is for sure, the tension within Parliament and within the country will continue to grow. There has already been a police investigation launched to see who was responsible for a GoFundMe page to fund the killing of Gina Miller, something that should horrify anyone. The more Parliament dithers without saying what it wants, the more radicals will prey on the frustrations of the people, on either side of this divide. It must get its act together for once in its life.
This must be the last extension requested, for the good of the country.