Donald Tusk has narrowed the EU’s position down on an extension even further, saying that the EU will only grant a short extension if the UK approves the deal:
“I believe that a short extension will be possible but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons.”
This will be music to the ears of Brexiteers hoping to force no deal. The person in the most difficult position now is Jeremy Corbyn – if he wants to avoid no deal then his only choice now is to approve the deal – no more meaningless amendments on Labour’s alternative plan. Has Tusk now made the calculation that the only way to get the votes for the deal is from the Labour side, not the Tories, and made his move to bounce Labour – rather than the ERG?
Note that Tusk only said that a “short” extension is conditional on the deal passing, leaving the door open to the EU putting egregious conditions like a second referendum on a longer extension if May is forced to rush back to Brussels for an emergency summit after losing another vote next week. What will May be prepared to sign up to in a blind panic to avoid no deal?