For three years we have been trying to find a solution which honours the result of the Brexit vote and makes our exit as smooth and painless as possible.
The country is split, not between leave or remain but by variants of the two. There are those who want to leave with a deal, others who want to leave and trade on World Trade Organisation rules. There are pragmatic remain voters who acknowledge and accept the vote. There are also some who want to extend Article 50, repeal it, have a second referendum or, like the Lib Dems, ignore the vote altogether.
People are angry with Parliament and Parliamentarians, but never in a generation has Parliament so accurately reflected the people. We all fit into one of the above categories.
The vast majority of the public are pretty much in the same place; they want to leave, or they have accepted the instruction given by the people and they want to leave with a deal. I want a deal, the Prime Minister wants a deal, most of Parliament who accept the result of the referendum want a deal, the majority of the British public want a deal, so why can’t we have one?
Those who are trying to thwart the result will give any excuse; they say the deal is not good enough. The twenty or thirty MPs who want to leave on World Trade Organisation rules also say the deal is not good enough. There is only one thing that could bring a majority of Parliamentarians together. The Northern Ireland Backstop.
It was this part of Theresa May’s deal which prevented us from leaving on the 29th March. The draft Withdrawal Agreement is dead. It has never been ratified. It is not an agreement, it never was. It was a draft to be agreed and it couldn’t command a majority in Parliament. The European Union’s negotiators said the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened. This attitude is misguided.
By saying the draft Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, the European Union are refusing to negotiate. If they continue, then the Prime Minister says we will leave without a deal on the 31st October.
So who will be responsible for a no-deal exit? Prior to the 29th March, it was those MPs who refused to compromise on the draft Withdrawal Agreement. Now the responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the EU. If they want a smooth exit which protects their manufacturers as well as ours then it is incumbent on them to find a solution to the undemocratic backstop.
If not, we will leave on the 31st October without a deal.