There are four ways in which Brexit could develop, assuming that there is now no negotiated agreement – or rather, there is no such agreement acceptable to Parliament (which is to all practical effect the same thing).
- No Deal.
- Either, followed by an autumn election.
- A second referendum.
- Extensions, until or unless there is some further development.
Our take has long been that the least bad of those unappetising series of options is No Deal followed by a general election soon after (assuming no negotiated agreement, as we say).
There are downsides to all options – and at least two to an autumn election. First and as is well-known, Conservative MPs don’t want one. So there may well not be a Commons majority for an election in the near future.
Second – and as we see from this month’s survey result above – Party members don’t want one either. Our previous surveys suggest that they want either a negotiated agreement or No Deal.
The snag is that it is very unlikely indeed that No Deal will take place, if at all, without an election following it very soon afterwards.
This is the point Jeremy Hunt was making earlier this week. He may not be right that one would be inevitable in the event of No Deal, or that the Conservatives would necessarily lose it, but his case has real substance.
We look forward to the leadership candidates who favour No Deal, even if usually as a last resort, explaining how they would avoid an election to Tory MPs who they hope to woo, many of whom are in marginal seats.
As for a second referendum, opposition to one among Party activists seems to be even more entrenched. See the graph below.