BREXIT UPDATE - WINTER IS COMING

Or is it? Who knows, as we enter into what may be the endgame after three and a half years of negotiations post Referendum, or it may not be, depending on Parliament this Saturday coming.

Matters have moved speedily since my last note. I think, finally, the penny dropped at Downing Street that a different tone and style was needed from the angry response to being pulled back after the prorogation court judgement. The Prime Ministers recent speeches have been more measured, and far from the Benn Act being an end to all negotiation in our time, which the Government claimed as it took the Whip away from us, it actually succeeded in my objective of moving the talks in Brussels on with speed. That is because it matched the UK's determination to apply pressure on the EU towards a no deal deadline, with Parliaments pressure on the Government to ensure an extension beyond October 31st if it did not reach a conclusion.   As Boris Johnson plainly did not want the latter, it balanced pressure on both sides.

The result we have seen this week, with a second agreement between the UK and twenty-seven other states now to be put to Parliament.

So far, so good. But now comes the difficult bit.

At the risk of further repetition of my position, I have held consistently since the result of the Referendum that the best thing for the UK and the EU is that we leave, with a deal. I have voted repeatedly in that direction and will do so again this weekend.

The Agreement is essentially that of Mrs May, but the backstop arrangements give sufficient alteration to allow some MPs to change their vote and back it, unlike last time.  It is not a perfect deal- but if MPs continue to reject the result of the negotiations, I believe we risk no deal, further delay and uncertainty which is having a marked effect on the country as a whole, the continued deterioration of the relationship with the EU (did anyone notice the evident relief at the European Council from EU Leaders?) and the steady destruction of our political debate here. And I remain unconvinced that a new Referendum would somehow end this, and with one new bound we would be free, despite the many hundreds of thousands who will march in London. However I am almost certain to back a referendum rather than no deal, if that became the crucial alternative.

But I truly want neither.

The only way to progress is not to go backwards to an old situation, plainly unsatisfactory to millions, but to forge something new. That can only be done with a deal to leave, and then a renewed determination to ensure that domestic politics deliver us the sort of country we want to live and work in, and new co-operation with an inevitably changing EU.

If we can achieve this, winter will be short. If not, the outlook will be grim.