EU offers UK an extension – and hands Remainers a lifeline

The choice is between persisting with a pro-Brexit parliament or rolling the dice.

NS

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The European Union has agreed a further three-month extension to the Article 50 process until 31 January, with an option to bring the extension to a halt early if the withdrawal agreement is ratified before that date.

It leaves Remainers facing a clear choice: the extension doesn’t provide enough time to hold another referendum, and there is in any case a reliable majority against holding one in this parliament. Crucially, with Brexit up for grabs, the 19 Labour MPs who helped pass Boris Johnson’s exit deal on its second reading are largely of a mind to choose the deal over an election if faced with that decision.

Remainers have just one option: to roll the dice on a December election, and hope that they can return a parliament that opposes Brexit.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.