Brexit feels eerily like Lehman 2.0.
By BBC journalist Robert Peston and cross-posted from his facebook account.
Most MPs tell me they believe a no-deal Brexit is a remote prospect.
They are wrong.
I would argue it is the most likely outcome – unless evasive action is taken much sooner than anyone expects.
Here is why.
1) The probability is low of the PM securing substantial enough changes to the widely loathed backstop to win a vote for her deal exclusvely from Tory MPs, the DUP and a modest number of leave-supporting Labour MPs;
2) The probability is also low of the PM risking the break up of her party by pursuing all the way to a formal agreement the negotiations just started with Corbyn and Labour on a Brexit deal built on Labour’s core condition that the UK must remain in the Customs Union.
3) The probability is better than evens that MPs will on 27 February vote to put a bill before parliament that would – if passed – force the PM to request a delay to the date the UK leaves the EU.
4) The probability is better than evens that MP and Lords subsequently pass that legislation which would force the PM to ask EU leaders to delay Brexit.
5) The probability is impossible to assess that every one of the EU 27’s governments will give their assent to a request from the UK PM for a Brexit delay – and Brexit can only be delayed if there is unanimity.
6) If Brexit is delayed, it would probably not be for any longer than two or three months – or the maximum possible time that would not trigger an obligation on the UK to participate in elections for the European Parliament. A delay of two or three months would be highly unlikely to be long enough for MPs to work out what kind of Brexit deal, if any, they would support, and then to secure the assent for that from the EU’s 27 leaders.
7) The leaders of the EU’s 27 nations would take the view there is very little point in delaying Brexit at all unless it is clear what kind of Brexit deal would win a majority in the House of Commons.
8) There is no mechanism at present for assessing what kind of Brexit deal would win the support of MPs.
9) All the focus on the backstop, and the insurance policy for keeping open the border on the island of Ireland, has distracted from what is actually the biggest obstacle to a Brexit deal – which is that there is no consensus in parliament on what the UK’s future long-term relationship with the EU should be…