Brexit Halloween is coming, but it's already the Day of the Braindead

Tensions in the room have been said to have been high, with EU leaders split over whether or not to take the full, complete p*ss and give the UK a new Brexit deadline of actual Halloween

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Thursday 11 April 2019 11:06 BST
Theresa May blames MPs for Brexit delay following EU summit

Once, in happier times, Theresa May strode on to the stage at an awards ceremony wearing a hi-vis jacket, in open mockery of George Osborne, whom she had just sacked.

No one could say with 100 per cent certainty whether or not she had it on again in the small hours of Thursday morning, when she arrived, ashen faced, to glower at the press. A world leader, in theory, but in reality, little more than the European Union’s car park attendant, and her own country’s beleaguered office fire marshal. Except that this was not a drill.

They made her wait until almost 2am, the 27 leaders of the European Union, the ones who, having never been so mesmerically stupid as to ‘take back control’, now get to decide the UK’s fate for it as it sits in a little side room on its own.

Tensions in the room have been said to have been high, with EU leaders split over whether or not to take the full, complete piss and give the UK a new Brexit deadline of actual Halloween. As if the original plan, for Britain’s first working day outside the European Union to have been April Fool’s Day had not been funny enough (that was our own idea, by the way). Now Brexit was to be a Halloween special.

But the early signs are that Britain won’t even have to wait that long. Anyone in Theresa May's early morning press conference had already seen a ghost, and this morning, on every media outlet near you, Day of the Braindead is well underway.

Before this summit, large numbers of EU leaders consistently warned that they did not want to give the UK an extension because they would just use it to ask for changes to the backstop, as they had been doing for the previous year, or to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement. In the small hours of the morning, Jean-Claude Juncker had explicitly said that the UK can do whatever it likes with the next six months, but the Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened, under any circumstances whatsoever.

Donald Tusk had simply said to us, “Do not waste this time.”

So naturally, already on your morning listening, you’ll have found David Davis saying that the EU "always says it won’t budge, but does in the end,” even now, after the last two deadlines have gone, and it hasn’t done budged an inch. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson has been on Talk Radio to say Theresa May, “should use the time between now and October to get the message over to the EU that they should reopen the withdrawal agreement.”

Laugh if you want but it's infectious, this stuff. It's Brexit: Zombie Dawn out there. Members of the ERG roam the deserted streets, getting in their cars outside their homes, telling TV news crews that "the EU needs to reopen the withdrawal agreement." They seek changes to the backstop, but they come for us all.

Still, at least the Prime Minister will surely have some bright ideas for the way ahead. “We must find a way forward,” she barked. “Nothing is more pressing.” Before adding: “I do not pretend that the next few weeks will be easy, or that there is an easy way to break the deadlock in parliament.”

So that’s it then. Not a clue. Six more months of the same old horror show, to be frittered away on a leadership contest, so that the Tory Party can, in its infinite wisdom, choose a new leader who’ll tell them black is white then, when it’s too late, again, find out that, no, it isn’t.

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