While dozens of lorries trialled how a disused airfield might be used to ease traffic congestion near Channel ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement also appears to be stuck on the runway.
Unless the Prime Minister can pull an unexpected rabbit out of the hat in the next week, it seems that she is heading for defeat in next Tuesday’s Commons vote – the very reason she called it off last month.
With opposition to the plan continuing from many of her own MPs, as well as Labour, other opposition parties and the DUP – which the Conservative Party relies on for a majority in Parliament – there is little sign that the deal will be voted through in its current form given there is little indication that Brussels is willing to make any substantive changes to what has already been agreed.
With less than three months until Brexit, attitudes are hardening, the options are narrowing and the chance of a consensus on any way forward being reached seems increasingly remote. As leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson stated that leaving without a deal was closest to what people voted for in the referendum, more than 200 MPs signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit due to fears of its economic impact and the likelihood of causing job losses, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing.
While a week is a long time in politics and reassurances on the Northern Ireland backstop, which has been the cause of much of the angst around the plan, may well be secured, there can be little doubt that the nation is currently on course for the “uncharted territory” Mrs May has warned the UK is heading towards if her deal is rejected.
The Prime Minister is a woman of undoubted resolve. But once again, she faces an uphill battle in the coming days if her plan is finally to achieve lift-off.