The chances of a no-deal Brexit just got higher

Sienna Rodgers
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“Don’t waste this time,” the EU warned when it granted a long extension of Article 50. It was always said that this is precisely what the UK would do – waste time. Has that proven to be the case? Yes, in that MPs have still not settled on a solution to the Brexit question. And Jeremy Corbyn has now put an end to the cross-party talks (full letter here), which were going nowhere with such a weak Prime Minister. But there is perhaps an upcoming change in British politics that will lead to a firm decision being made on Brexit – though not one liked by Labour.

Theresa May has confirmed to Tory backbenchers that she will set a timetable for a party leadership election after the next Brexit vote in early June. Conservatives will force her out of office whether the withdrawal agreement bill passes or not. The summer will be dominated by the race, which a hard Brexiteers (read: no-dealer) is expected to win.

Lucy Powell, who has been working to get a Norway-style compromise through parliament, was the first Labour MP to publicly issue very bleak warnings. She reckons that with the mood of the Conservative Party already shifting towards a hard Brexit, which is bound to intensify during a honeymoon period for a new no-deal-supporting leader, the Commons won’t be able to block no deal in October. Unless the new Prime Minister calls an early election (why repeat that mistake?), we’re heading towards one of the two extremes: revoke or no deal. I’m sure many LabourList readers would happily choose the former, but the latter may be more likely with Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab or Andrea Leadsom at the helm.

I will recommend cheerier – or at least not entirely joyless – pieces to read over the weekend, however. Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. To mark it, we have Angela Eagle – only our second openly lesbian MP – writing on the progress made by the last Labour government and the work still to be done to fight bigotry. Dawn Butler, Labour’s equalities spokesperson, has written a piece outlining what the next Labour government will do to “stand in solidarity with the LGBT+ community”.

Labour left activists are continuing to debate the announcement made by Momentum yesterday that they will now be campaigning for radical policies rather than just rule changes. I’ve written about what this means for the left and the future of the organisation.

You may be surprised to hear that something is about to improve under this Tory government. But only because it was so damaged by the minister-who-will-not-be-sacked, Chris (Failing) Grayling. We have an excellent piece by Sara Hyde explaining the ways in which the privatisation of our probation system ruined people’s lives and exploring how Labour should reshape justice policy more broadly.

Apologies for the delay today – we were experiencing technical difficulties but those issues have now been fixed. Watch out for our next survey coming soon on the site, and have a great weekend.

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