Written by : Andreas Whittam Smith
The notion that Brexit might not happen after all is beginning to gain support. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, has claimed that the chances of Brexit falling through are now “maybe 20 per cent, possibly 25 per cent”.
At the weekend, he said: “The probabilities of having an exit from Brexit are rising because of the chronic weakness of the Government – the lack of ability to negotiate a satisfactory deal … We will almost certainly be faced with a poor deal, maybe no deal at all, and I think under those circumstances, [with] large numbers of initially MPs and then the public, wanting to revisit the basic question will rise.”
Stein Ringen, visiting professor of political economy at King’s College London, made the same prediction in a blog published on 12 September: “Parliament is moving towards preventing Britain from exiting the European Union. It is not there yet, but in its lumbering, convoluted, step-by-step manner, that’s where it is heading.”
At first glance, this view received support from David Davis’s promise on Monday of enhanced scrutiny by members of Parliament. In a statement in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union promised that Parliament will be given time to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement that is struck with the European Union, and that the agreement would hold only if Parliament approved it.