The likely General Election date…
…if there is to be one, is now clearer. Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement last Thursday (10 Oct) confirming that once the threat of no deal has definitely passed, Labour will officially support a General Election, means we can start pencilling in dates. That said Corbyn is under pressure on this with much ‘Moderate Labour’ noise pushing him to continue refusing a General Election, because Labour could do very badly, and instead go for the much fabled second referendum first. In truth, that battle may still not be over.
Then later the same day (10 Oct), Boris and Leo Varadkar schmoozed each other again, making a potential deal theoretically possible, should you wish to believe that the ‘tunnel’ of love negotiation could produce something by the European Council this Thursday (17 Oct).
So how do the timings play out? Probably like this:
Scenario 1 – No deal at European Council
17-18 Oct – European Council – No deal agreed
19 Oct – Saturday sitting of Parliament – Huge Remain/Brexiteer bust up with Remainers demanding Boris sign the Benn Act letter
Late Oct – Lots of Supreme Court ‘lawfare’ culminating with either (a) the Benn Act letter being signed (possibly by a civil servant rather than any Tory politician) or (b) Cummings’ ‘wiggle room strategy’ working out amid howls of outrage that Boris is acting illegally
End of Oct/beginning of Nov – The General Election finally being called
5 Dec – General Election
Scenario 2 – Deal at European Council
17-18 Oct – European Council – Deal agreed
19 Oct – Saturday sitting of Parliament – Deal endorsed by the Commons in a rowdy meeting, though there’s likely to be an attempt to make it subject to confirmation in a second referendum. Labour could vote for/against/abstain; who knows! Although some Leave supporting and Leave seat Labour MPs could vote for the deal. The Lib Dems and SNP would likely vote against
Very soon thereafter – Commons votes for a General Election
28 Nov or 5 Dec – General Election
(Caveat – Obviously all this could change, unicorns may take flight, a pot of gold could be discovered at the end of the rainbow etc…)