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If either Davidson or Tugendhat were to make it through to the last two in ballots of Tory MPs — quite possible if there were  multiple Leaver candidates — they would then need to win the votes of Tory members against another candidate who would surely be a Brexiteer. Here the maximalist hopes of the Remainers go out of the window. It is simply inconceivable that any candidate could win such a ballot of the Tory membership, overwhelmingly made up of Leavers, without explicitly pledging to implement the referendum result. It is possible that Davidson or Tugendhat could say in a leadership race that reaching a deal with Europe about our future relationship was paramount and that leaving with no deal was not an option.

If such a Conservative Prime Minister then stated that the best deal that Britain could obtain was going for the Norway option — with perhaps a bit of a figleaf on free movement similar to that obtained by David Cameron in his renegotiation — he or she would instantly lose the support of 50 or so hardcore Brexiteer MPs. Europhile Tories would be delighted and the bulk of the middle ground of the parliamentary party would go along with it, but the firm Brexiteers would certainly split the party and do all in their power to bring down such a government.

Davidson or Tugendhat would have lost their majority from their own benches and would have to find support elsewhere in the Commons. This, ironically, is perhaps the easiest part of Remainer daydream to imagine: 75 Labour MPs — including Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna — rebelled against their own front bench and defied a three-line whip in June to support continued membership of the EEA. What unites the pro-European Labour rebels is not just their Remainerdom but also their contempt for Jeremy Corbyn and his clique. It is easy to imagine that such MPs would prioritise the continued closest possible relationship with the EU over getting Corbyn into Number 10, something they dread anyway. It is not difficult to see Bradshaw or Umunna — and indeed Vince Cable with his band of 12 Liberal Democrat MPs — sitting happily in a Davidson-led cabinet. 

There may be other routes whereby Brexit might be stopped in its track — but there are not many. My scenario or some variant of it is possible to imagine. All these pieces could potentially fall into place — but it is much more likely that they won’t. It is extremely difficult to see how the Remainers can stop Brexit — or even retain EEA or Single Market membership — without first smashing the Conservative Party and then smashing the Labour Party. There is almost certainly a substantial majority in the House of Commons — and certainly a two-thirds-plus majority in the Lords — for the softest of soft Brexits. The trouble for the Remain schemers and dreamers is that this majority is split between the political parties. For Brexit to be stopped, traditional party allegiances would have to be ripped up. In the Labour Party there are many who are so out of sympathy with the Left’s take-over of their party that they might well be up for this. But on the Conservative side there are very few pro-Europeans who would jettison the party, especially when the alternative party of government is led by someone as unpalatable as Corbyn, who in addition shows every sign of being a closet Leaver. May may well face parliamentary defeats in July, but Brexit lives on.
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July 1st, 2018
4:07 PM
Brexit will never happen. The European Project is to be protected at all costs and Alastair Campbell is leading the Resistance with his numerous friends in the lawyering community and those in the media he schooled in "news management" prior to the Blair Triumph. Those "in charge" of the European Project only have one goal, to stay "in charge" and do not care what damage they cause to the statelets. They have destroyed the economies of those in the Eurozone who relied on steadily devaluing their currencies, (the UK is also having to do likewise to pay for the NHS and other luxuries), but only care for the beauty of their Empire's outline.

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