Sputnik: Delayed Brexit is now touted as the most likely option. How probable is such a scenario?
Robert Ackrill: It's a very rapidly changing situation. I think there are some people who want a Brexit and they don't care what damage happens, they want to leave on the 29th of March. I think, logically, given that the government is making such preparations for a no-deal Brexit, they appreciate the damage that it would cause. So, I think there's quite a lot of support for an extension to the process beyond the two years of Article 50. The trouble is that we still don't know absolutely how that will actually play out given the divisions and uncertainty that we currently face.
Sputnik: We've also got Jeremy Corbyn revealing that his party is pushing Mrs May's government to back their deal and allow for a second EU referendum. What chances does the Labour Party have in implementing their plan? I mean they couldn't pass thorough a vote of no confidence; what likelihood do they have in terms of pressurizing the government into a second referendum?
The immediate response to that is a few Labour MPs saying "Hang on. I'm in the Leave constituency; I'm going to lose my seat if we have this".
Sputnik: We've still got the situation with regard to Theresa May's Plan B as well. Most people commented that it's a crude repackaging of her initial plan. What chances does her backup plan stand now when the vote is held?
And her government, rather than necessarily the country, is getting to the point so close to the 29th of March where voting against her deal would almost be seen as voting against the Conservative Party, which may well shift a lot of those Conservative Party MPs who previously opposed the actual Brexit deal itself, but they would be therefore voting not on the Brexit deal. They'd be kind of biting their tongues and voting effectively almost to support the government regardless of what the Brexit deal is. So, I think, strategically, she has now boxed herself into such a corner that if she to get this…
Sputnik: Where are we going to be on the 29th of March? Where do you perceive us to be? Are we going to be still in the European Union extending Article 50, or we're going to have left with a no-deal; or are they going to actually come up with some kind of a finalized deal somewhere between the 28th and 29th where they sit down, the EU strategic leaders and the UK government, and actually patch out a deal that can be acceptable, or is that a bridge too far?
I would like to hope that we'll still be in the European Union. Regardless of the fact that I'm a pro-Remain, if we are going to have a Brexit then it has to be on terms other, I believe, than a no-deal Brexit. So, being in the EU in the short term, even if the long term is leaving the EU, will be a lot less damaging than leaving without a deal on the 29th of March.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Robert Ackrill and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.