So Heidi Allen thinks it’s a ‘done deal’. But is it a big deal? The draft plan for extending Article 50 – the ‘Cooper-Letwin plan’ – was not voted upon last time MPs had a say on Brexit. Its proponents now think the numbers stack up for an extension of Article 50 in Parliament.
Such an extension, which would be forced on the Prime Minister by MPs, is often dismissed as a political cul-de-sac. An extension of the Article 50 path leading to another brick wall. Certainly, its practical effect would be to create a new no-deal cliff-edge and a new date to panic about, most likely at the end of June rather than the end of March.
However, the finer details of the plan mean it would be likely to shake the politics of Brexit out of their current stupor. The delay would serve two clear, and overlooked, political purposes.
Theresa May wants the House of Commons to face a simple binary question. So you don’t want my deal: do you want to frustrate Brexit, or to leave with no deal at all?
The strategy of those advocating an extension is to reverse this question, and return it to Mrs May. OK so, you can’t get your deal Prime Minister: do you want to change course to an extension and a new deal, or plough on towards no deal?