If the next Conservative PM has not got Brexit done by the next election the electoral outlook is beyond bleak unless the dynamic can be changed.
Sunday evening we will get a taste of what it looks like when Conservatives strongly committed to Remain and Leave desert left and right.
The only route to get the Withdrawal Agreement passed in this Parliament is for the backstop to be dropped. That’s up to the EU. If they don’t help rescue the new PM from their current “winner takes it all” deal with the U.K. then they should understand that PM will be faced with only one realistic course of action. An electoral pact with the Brexit Party. This would need a programme for government centred around negotiating objectives with the EU, including a provision to manage the implications of the EU refusing improvements from WTO rules. Since arguably they, and unarguably the Republic of Ireland, need these more than we do, such a situation should be unlikely, but explicit British resolve and a plan will concentrate minds. But if we get to this point they will have driven the Conservative Party into the arms of Nigel Farage and with it the prospect of the EU receiving much of the £39 billion to fix their current budget challenge. However the new PM will have given themself an option of escape from electoral Armageddon. It will mean Conservatives get a free run from Brexit Party in the seats we hold and we allow them a free run elsewhere, which look likely to deliver many Labour leave seats to them.
In that new Parliament the Conservatives would have to work hard to regain the confidence of the one nation wing of the Party. But one nation values are central to successful Global Britain positioning on open and free trade, rule of law, universal human rights, development, climate change and global stability. Recover these values and we have a convincing answer to those who voted remain, particularly the young, who thought Brexit was a statement of narrow nationalism.
Should Nigel Farage refuse any such arrangement he will have made delivering Brexit a poor second to smashing current politics. That won’t play well with many Brexit supporters so the effort is worth making.
If we don’t get Brexit done then all bets are off for the future shape of British politics. The only thing we can be certain of is that the Brexit issue won’t have gone away.