It is alarming just how seriously our MPs are treating a no-deal Brexit with Theresa May allowing Conservative MPs a free vote on the subject.
It is extraordinary – even in our current turbulent times – that today the UK’s democratically elected representatives will consider throwing the country’s economy off Brexit’s now proverbial cliff.
Have MPs ever before given such serious consideration to such a foolish act?
But – following the second landslide defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit plan in the second “meaningful” vote in the Commons, which presumably now does actually mean that her deal is dead – the Commons will today vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal in 16 days’ time.
Remember, no less an expert on the British economy than Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has warned that a no-deal could be as bad as the 2008 financial crash; the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned the UK could suffer a recession so bad that it would damage the European and global economy; and one of the Government’s own briefing papers warned it could result in economic “Armageddon”.
Current Cabinet minister Michael Gove once infamously quipped that Britain had had enough of such “experts” weighing in on Brexit. Surely Britain has now had enough of the fools in the Commons who are seriously contemplating no-deal.
It may seem unlikely that MPs will back that, but the level of support is still high enough for Theresa May to feel the need to give her MPs a free vote.
That the Government of the UK has refused to demand loyalty on an issue of such vital importance to the country, to the livelihoods of all its citizens, is an abrogation of leadership and a dereliction of duty.
However, assuming common sense still commands a majority in the Commons, MPs will then hold a vote tomorrow on whether to ask the EU for a delay of Brexit, which is the only serious immediate option.
May sounded like she still hoped a version of her deal could go through, but she also asked MPs if they wanted to hold a second referendum, perhaps a sign that she is starting to come round to sharing The Scotsman’s view that this is the only way to break the impasse.
Brexit has proved far more difficult than anyone imagined three years ago. A second referendum is required to enable the UK, the EU and indeed the world to finally move on.