'Brexit is dead,’ the Minister told me. ‘Some rebels might start to come round, but it’s too late. On Monday the House of Commons will take control of the process and then it’s over.’
A Downing Street aide agreed. ‘We’ve managed to hold them off for as long as we can. But we only stopped the Commons by two votes last time, and that was because Paul Flynn’s seat was vacant and Fiona Onasanya [the Labour MP jailed for lying about a speeding offence] was with her parole officer. It’s done now.’
Brexit was supposed to be a moment of national catharsis. Instead, it is about to go down as the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the British people.
Everything they were promised before, during and after the 2016 referendum was a lie. They were told they would cast a single vote and it would be honoured.
They were told if they voted to leave, untold riches would flow into the NHS and other public services.
They were told the EU would be resistant, but then capitulate at the thought of John Bull turning his back on imports of prosecco and BMWs.
And as MPs begged again for their votes in the 2017 Election, they were told once more that their decision to leave would be respected and enacted.
Tomorrow, each and every one of those promises will turn to dust on the floor of the Commons chamber.
The plan first contrived in secret by Dominic Grieve and Speaker John Bercow in his ornate apartments will finally come to fruition. MPs will take back control.
And the process of erasing Brexit from history, and replacing it with a customs union, or a single market, or a new common market will commence.
Not that the MPs themselves want it framed this way. When Theresa May accused them last week of pitting themselves against the public, they reacted with fury. The Prime Minister was undermining the very foundation of parliamentary democracy, they warned.
Others claimed their personal safety was being put at risk. ‘I’m going back to my constituency this weekend and I’m worried,’ one Tory backbencher admitted. ‘I think something is going to happen.’
Such fears are tragically not without foundation. But another fundamental principle of our democracy is that our elected representatives are held up to scrutiny and criticism. And while she might have expressed herself clumsily, Theresa May was right.
MPs were issued an instruction by the British people. Given the Byzantine complexity of the Brexit process, it would be foolish to pretend it was a simple one. But it was clear. They were told to withdraw the UK from the European Union.
They refused. Granted 1,000 days to reach consensus on an exit strategy, they had neither the competence nor the courage nor the foresight nor the sense of national duty to construct one.'
Read more: The greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the British people
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