Former Conservative MP Michael Portillo has noted that the EU finally “blinked” and took No Deal seriously last night for the first time.
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The EU shifted their position. Originally they were set to offer only an extension that would apply if MPs voted for Theresa May’s deal, but with No Deal on the table for next Friday, that changed to two offers of an extension to April or May depending on if May’s deal is backed in Parliament.
As veteran political commentator Michael Portillo noted last night on BBC’s This Week: “This evening for the first time 1,000 days since the referendum, the European Union blinked. For the first time since the referendum there was a sign of disunity and then they gave a concession to Britain that they were not attending to give earlier in the day.
“And this came about it seems because suddenly they took seriously the possibility of Britain exiting with No Deal.”
Portillo went on to make the point: “Just makes you wonder whether over the last 1,000 days if at any time Parliament had prepared for No Deal, if at anytime the government had made the European Union take No Deal seriously, if Parliament hadn’t consistently undermined the option of No Deal, what we might have achieved.
“The funny thing is had that happened, had we made No Deal credible, we might now be looking at quite a good deal, instead of looking at No Deal.”
Portillo makes an excellent point.
For the first time, the EU believed No Deal is a real possibility and they immediately made concessions.
Imagine what could have been if this had been our approach all along! pic.twitter.com/on2Xq5IYcy
— Edward (@EdwardBurdon) March 22, 2019
Conservative MP Steve Double laid it out as well: “It is so frustrating that it is only now that EU are taking risk of No Deal seriously.
“Just imagine where we could have been if the threat of no deal was real a year ago. We will probably never know how much damage those MPs who refused to accept No Deal as an option have caused.”
The tragedy of the British negotiation is that they have been left with a bad deal because they largely knew Theresa May wouldn’t walk away. As soon as that became a possibility, Brussels shifted.
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