In the weeks following the referendum, I published Ten Reasons why Brexit would never happen. In light of recent events, I feel it is time to review my prediction. The ten issues I identified have all played a part in delaying and frustrating the process but it is clear that there are two fundamentals and cannot be resolved.
A significant majority of MPs voted Remain and still believe any form of Brexit will be bad for the future of the UK.
There is no form of Brexit that can be reconciled with the Good Friday Agreement
A third fundamental has arisen since the General Election in 2017 when the government lost its majority in the House of Commons
Events over the past weeks have highlighted these fundamentals and it is quite clear that there is not a majority in the Commons for any form of Brexit. Labour, the ERG and DUP will oppose a “soft” Brexit and all sides of the House will oppose a ”No Deal Brexit” favoured by many in the ERG.
So where do we go from here?
As time is running out and it does not seem possible to get an agreement before the March deadline the government should extend or preferably revoke Art 50.
This will give parliament the opportunity to reconsider the whole Brexit issue and in particular the demands for a People’s Vote.
At first sight, a People’s Vote would seem to be the most obvious way to resolve the issue and recent opinion polls suggest those opposed to Brexit would win.
I’m not sure. Public opinion can change during a referendum campaign particularly as the press will again arouse racism nationalism and xenophobia. It is easy to see how the recent political events in France Germany Hungry can be exploited to raise fears of the EU and in particular its long-term stability
I would prefer the Commons to simply revoked Article 50 particularly as most MPs believe that NO Brexit is in the best interest of the people of UK. While most MPs wish to respect the result of the referendum they are reluctant to take any action which they believe will be detrimental to their constituents and the UK as a whole.
Regardless I still believe my prediction in 2016 which was widely ridiculed and attacked at the time may be coming true.
Brian Wilson is a former senior lecturer in European Business and a former Green Party member of the Northern Ireland Assembly