It must have been a bizarre experience for arch-Brexiters and arch-Remainers to walk through the same division lobby on Tuesday night. Now both are claiming victory.
The arch-Brexiters believe they have moved a significant step closer to leaving the EU without a deal, on WTO rules, even though their plan was voted down last night.
They claim this will be fine and some even believe that the EU will give them a two or three year period of grace, whereby the UK will abide by EU rules whilst it sorts out a new, pro-British trading agreement.
Boris Johnson even said: “The Malthouse compromise indicates the way forward; the UK observes single market rules and customs duties, we restrain our right to compete for three years, whilst we negotiate a free trade deal. I believe the EU would be open to this.”
He was quickly slapped down by the EU. Its deputy Brexit negotiator Sabine Weyand said MPs’ decision to resurrect the Malthouse compromise, which has already been rejected by Brussels countless times, shows that parliament is “divorced from reality”.
Meanwhile, the arch-Remainers also see Tuesday’s vote as a huge win.
Jo Swinson, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead. It is deceased. It is an ex-deal. This is a huge victory for anyone who believes that the people, not the politicians, should have the final say on Brexit.”
Yet one of these two sides is going to lose massively. The arch-Brexiters have put their money on red, whilst the arch-Remainers have put theirs on black. One will lose.
However, there is another way out of this catastrophic mess. How about we listen to the voice of reason and the CBI’s director-general Carolyn Fairbairn is that voice of reason.
She is calling for calm, compromise, a revisiting of red lines and some kind of customs union. At a time when there is no parliamentary majority for no-deal, a second referendum, Canada Plus or the Malthouse compromise, maybe we need to hand the decision over to business leaders. They have called for extension to Article 50 to prevent a no-deal scenario.
Ms Fairbairn said a new approach is needed by all parties and that jobs and livelihoods depend on it.
“Conservatives must consign their red lines to history, while Labour must come to the table with a genuine commitment to solutions. It’s time for Parliament to stop this circus,” she said.
Edwin Morgan of the Institute of Directors, said: “It is essential that political leaders on all sides look beyond party lines to find a way to move the country forward.”
Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUk, said: “The UK leaving the EU without a deal would be an own goal of historic proportions for the UK and the EU. This is absolutely not in the interests of customers or the wider economy. MPs must now say ‘no to no-deal’ and the UK and the EU must urgently return to the negotiating table.”
Personally Blackfriar believes that there isn't a deal as good as the deal we already have with the EU, but the people have spoken, apparently.
It escapes Mrs May that she has made MPs vote twice on her deal in the space of two months. Yet apparently it would be terrible to ask the people to vote again, nearly three years after they voted the first time, when we now know so much more than we did in 2016.
I don’t like it, but I’m willing to compromise just to end this ongoing nightmare, but MPs are too blinkered to compromise.
Business leaders would get the job done and we could all move on.