I hope you've been paying close attention to the latest developments in Westminster over the last couple of weeks. The viewing public has been gifted nightly with extended episodes of the Brexit soap opera, full of drama and surprises, betrayal and back-stabbing. All that's missing from the end-of-season finale is a wedding and a murder! Don't worry if you've missed anything – the lead characters will return this week for a repeat performance.
For those who missed last week's momentous events, here's a brief synopsis:
True to her word, the Prime Minister scheduled three days of debates and votes with the hope of making progress on Brexit. On Tuesday March 12th, May's deal went back to the House of Commons for a second ‘meaningful vote', only to suffer another spectacular defeat, although by a slightly less humiliating margin than first time round.
On Wednesday March 13th, parliament finally had a more substantial debate on ruling out a no-deal scenario. May's motion was rather woolly, stating that while parliament could rule it out, no-deal would remain the default option if her deal wasn't accepted. Thankfully, Labour MP Yvette Cooper ensured that parliament voted against a no-deal scenario under any circumstances, thereby providing much-needed relief for people who were losing sleep over that prospect.
The final event came on Thursday March 14th, with the promised debate and vote on asking the EU to extend Article 50. This was a government motion but May allowed a free vote to discourage resignations from Tory ministers. Eight cabinet ministers took advantage of that freedom and voted against the government, including the Brexit Secretary himself!
So, by the end-of-week finale, May's deal had been voted down, a no-deal scenario had been ruled out, and it was confirmed that we are not leaving the EU on March 29th, whatever happens next. (I don't like to say “I told you so” but I will anyway!)
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Reviews of the performances by the lead players were not kind – in fact, there was talk of replacing the leading lady over subsequent weeks. Furthermore, the role of Brexit Secretary has now been taken by three different players, each with fewer lines than his predecessor.
Now that the current season of ‘Brexit: the early years' has been extended, what can we expect in the next gripping episodes? At present, the writers are keeping the script a closely-guarded secret, possibly because they haven't decided on the plot (if there ever was one!) or the length of the season extension. Perhaps we'll see a new hero or villain, or an Easter special set on the continent. Or, is it just a horror series from start to finish?
One special episode is due at the end of this week, involving hundreds of thousands of extras. It's a feature-length programme from Westminster - without our leading lady - entitled the ‘Put it to the People' march. This extra-special episode is being filmed live, includes many celebrity cameos, and could be shown around the world – such is the popularity of the Brexit soap.
Bremain in Spain will be part of the march on Westminister on Saturday. Photo: Sue Wilson/ Bremain in Spain
Be sure to put next Saturday March 23rd in your diary – 12.00 until 16.00. Better still, join the cast as an extra and march with Bremain in Spain. You know you've always wanted to be on the telly! With this extra special episode, you could be on all channels at once.
Lights, cameras, action!
By Sue Wilson – Chair of Bremain in Spain, a member of the British in Europe coalition.