I can take the despair; it’s the hope I can’t stand,” John Cleese’s character says in the 1986 film Clockwise, and that’s a bit how MPs out to save Britain from a no-deal Brexit feel today. They know they ought to win. Hope should be on their side. They have the numbers in the House of Commons and they surely have the support of the country too. They also know that no-deal wasn’t what people voted for in 2016 — as Michael Gove said in March: “We didn’t vote to leave without a deal. That wasn’t the message of the campaign I helped lead.” They know it wasn’t what Tories were told they were voting for either, when Boris Johnson campaigned for the leadership a few weeks ago. In late June he said the chances of no-deal were “a million to one”. So why is no-deal despair everywhere this week? Why have politicians lurched from heading for soft Brexit in the spring — when the Commons came within a handful of votes of backing membership of the customs union and setting the points towards a soft Brexit — to making the most extreme of destructive positions look like official government… Read full this story
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