We have reached crunch time - Theresa May has presented her Brexit deal to Parliament and the resounding consensus is that it’s dead.
More than two years since the Brexit vote and after months of negotiations, it started badly today when it became clear Theresa May couldn’t even convince her own Brexit Secretary of a job well done, as Dominic Raab resigned. A few more resignations and letters of no confidence later, the Government is crumbling.
The truth is that the Brexit process has been a farce since the referendum on 23 June 2016. The public has looked on in horror as all illusion of a successful Brexit has been replaced with infighting, embarrassment and absurdity. Meanwhile the Brexiteers who were so eager to sell the lie of life after Europe are one by one washing their hands of this terrible mess in desperate bids to save their own careers.
There can be no doubt that the deal Theresa May presented to Parliament was not just bad – it was an omnishambles. It not only fails to tell us what our relationship will look like after Europe, but it could leave us in limbo for years - subject to EU laws but with no say over how they are made. That’s if it ever made it through Parliament, which we now know appears little more than a pipe dream.
Many want us to think the only other option is to be wrenched out of Europe with no deal at all - which would be an unmitigated disaster. We would face the chaos of job losses, failed businesses. Communities would be divided as EU nationals who have built their lives here are plunged into legal limbo. We would see vital environmental protections lost, a crisis in our NHS which relies on the hard work and expertise of EU staff, and peace in Northern Ireland placed recklessly and needlessly in the balance.
No one voted for any of this. And the greatest shame on Theresa May is that it is the people of Britain who will pay the price. As things stand, MPs will soon gather in Westminster to vote on May’s deal and decide our collective future. The choice between a dead deal and no deal is no choice at all - and the maths says this one won’t get through the Commons.
With the Tories intent on tearing themselves apart it is more important than ever that we say loudly and clearly that there is an alternative.
Twice in the last 24 hours - once on the steps of Downing Street, and once in the House of Commons - even the Prime Minister has had to concede that there is another option, and that is to stay in the European Union. It is a choice she repeatedly tried to rule out. Bur with every day that passes it is a choice which seems more attractive and less easy to dismiss.
The consequences of the votes cast in Parliament now will be felt by real people for generations to come. We must put party politics aside and stand together for what is right - and that starts by acknowledging that the grievances that led to the Brexit vote were real and must be addressed.
The Prime Minister is playing fast and loose with people’s lives, and it is right that the public is given the chance to take another look at the facts with People’s Vote on Brexit. Democracy didn’t end on 23 June 2016. It is the people of Britain, not politicians, who must have the final say on Brexit, with the option to remain in the EU.