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Probably not. Boris might well need an A.50 extension just to get his Canada+++ deal agreed by the Commons, and failing that, to call a general election. The EU27 might very well not be amenable to an extension, but might be prepared to do so if the alternative to Canada+++ is no deal.

Then, if Corbyn wins the election on the promise of holding a second referendum on whatever deal he negotiates, the EU would be faced with the choice of no deal or the possibility of the whole Brexit project being reversed - should they be prepared to offer an extension sufficient to negotiate a deal and hold a referendum.

Of course this would all run into the European Parliament elections, but there is no reason why those elections cannot be held - in the UK as well - on the understanding that the successful UK candidates will lose their seats whenever/if Brexit occurs. Contingency plans have been drawn up to that effect.

Holding EU parliament elections in the UK in May might also be a useful proxy for a referendum, providing a more authoritative indication of pro/anti EU feeling at that time, although there is also the risk of a high protest vote at how long and difficult the process is proving to be.

However with UKIP currently on 16 seats, and the Liberal Democrats on only 1, it would not be difficult for the pro-EU camp to register very significant gains and thus a psychological advantage heading into a second referendum, if there is to be one.

But as I said above, they whole scenario is littered with so many maybes, ifs and buts, that the net probability of such an outcome must be very low. Possibly as many as 6 sequential key events/decision points would have to go in a particular direction, and if we ascribe an arbitrary 50:50 probability to each one, that results in a net 1 in 128 or a less than 1% probability of a particular end outcome occurring.

For me the key events/decision points are:

  1. Commons approves/fails to approve May deal
  2. May loses/does not lose leadership (possibly by calling a general election before a challenge can take place)
  3. EU approves 3 Month A.50 extension
  4. New leader negotiates Canada+++ deal which is approved/not approved by Commons
  5. General election results in Corbyn win on promise of "better deal" and referendum to decide on it
  6. Second referendum results in vote to remain.

You could add further decision points  - like UK/EU not agreeing any deal in the first place - and you could certainly dispute the odds at each point. But even if we agreed an average 50:50 probability at each point, there is less than a 1% chance of a particular final outcome.

However I think it is worthwhile to work through the various stages a process would have to go through to result in a particular outcome. There are a huge number of possibilities, and as Colman has suggested above, possibly no particular outcome that has a very high probability of occurring.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 4th, 2018 at 08:14:10 PM EST
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