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Nevertheless, if no substantial Brexit deal is negotiated and the cliff edge looms, it wouldn't take many remainers to defect to pass a vote of no confidence, cause an election, and result in a Labour victory with a mandate to remain in the single market and customs union. Similarly, it wouldn't take many Brexiteers to defect to cause a similar outcome if any Brexit deal is not to their liking.

The likelihood of defections from any Government majority is generally over-hyped and I wouldn't put a lot of money on betting on a general election in 2019. The instinct for self-preservation tends to trump any qualms of principle. However many Tory MPs have something of a revolving door with key business interests horrified at the prospect of a hard Brexit.

So in this case I would put the probability of May losing a confidence vote by 2019 at greater than 50%. However a new Tory leader like Boris might seek to avoid a general election - in the knowledge of almost certain defeat - by simply delaying things long enough for Brexit to happen by default.

At that point dissident MPs will simply have to suck it hope and hope a better post-Brexit deal - a Canada plus trade deal can be negotiated. I can't see the EU placing a high priority on the plus part, however. Not after Brexit. Any deal will have to be heavily weighted in EU27's favour for it to achieve the required unanimous approval.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 19th, 2017 at 11:40:27 PM EST
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