The British public may be forced back to the ballot box for a General Election in early 2019 after European Council President Donald Tusk finally killed off all hope for Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit proposal in a press conference following a crucial round of Brexit negotiations in Salzburg this afternoon.
Tusk stated in definitive terms that Theresa May’s Chequers proposal would not work because all European leaders “shared the view […that] the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work – not least because it risks undermining the single market.“
European Council President Donald Tusk says EU leaders agree Theresa May's Chequers plan for #Brexit "will not work" because "it risks undermining the single market" https://t.co/UpHoAK94GG pic.twitter.com/H5FPZPUNN9
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) September 20, 2018
With Theresa May looking extremely unlikely to concede further ground on any future deal with the EU, and with just four weeks for the PM to come up with a better deal, this afternoon’s statement from Tusk now virtually ensures that the Tories’ Chequers proposal is completely dead in the water.
If no deal can be found with the EU, and with Theresa May having already promised Parliament a meaningful say on the final deal, the scenario is now looking extremely likely to cause an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
Should the prospect of a no deal Brexit be brought before Parliament, it is believed that MPs would vote such a scenario down by a huge margin of almost 4 to 1.
Should a no deal be rejected by MPs as predicted, and with the Brexit date set in law for March 2019, the only feasible solution to solve such a constitutional crisis would be to either call a General Election or to refer to question back to the public in a second referendum before the March Brexit deadline.
Unsurprisingly, the prospect of another General Election has gone down extremely well with supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, who are no doubt sensing that public opinion of the Tories’ woeful handling of the Brexit negotiations will pave the way for an imminent Corbyn-led Labour government:
It's official, Chequers just died. Theresa May said it was either that or no deal. Given that the latter is more likely, it's time for a General Election so the British People can make their views clear. pic.twitter.com/62vc3NaAmW
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) September 20, 2018
Theresa May's Chequers is dead in the water – as Corbyn said.
There is no way she can get her 'no deal' through Parliament.
Her failing government can not survive this
A General Election is coming pic.twitter.com/a0YNPX2TbR
— The Prole Star (@TheProleStar) September 20, 2018
However, the situation will also hinge on exactly what Theresa May promised to Dominic Grieve and the so-called Tory rebels in June before the crucial withdrawal bill vote.
During the summer, Dominic Grieve and a number of other pro-remain Tory MPs forged an alliance which forced a number of concessions from the Conservative leadership on crucial Brexit legislation. The most crucial of these being on the Brexit Bill – also know as the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Grieve had initially tabled an amendment to the bill demanding that Parliament was given a meaningful vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations in the event of a no deal scenario. However, to avoid being defeated on the crucial bill, Theresa May promised Grieve’s group that she would give Parliament “a meaningful say” on the final deal.
Yet, with May’s assurance that Parliament will get a meaningful say not written into law, and with no definitive evidence of such a concession being made other than the testimony of the so-called Tory rebels, it remains to be seen whether the Prime Minister will stay true to her word.
What is clear, however, is that the chances of the Tories crashing Britain out of the EU with no deal just got far more likely.