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Bercow Rules Out Spending Amendment

Common's speaker John Bercow, an avid Remainer, ruled out holding a vote on blocking government spending to halt a No Deal Brexit.

What Happened?

That's easy.

Bercow would not allow the vote because it would have been an enormous flop.

I called it four days ago Trumpian Silliness: UK MPs Propose Government Shutdown to Stop No Deal Brexit

There are no ways for Parliament to stop No Deal.

Brexit Progress

The Guardian Live Blog has the latest Brexit news. For those wanting Brexit, it's good news.

Jeremy Hunt: "So from the start of my premiership, So I will work on the basis we are leaving on 31st October with or without a deal unless the commission changes its position."

That's a lie. But it's mostly irrelevant except that it forces Johnson to distinguish with even firmer statements.

September 30 Date

Jeremy Hunt: "As prime minister I will make a judgement on 30th September as to whether there is a realistic chance of a new deal being agreed that can pass the House of Commons."

Bidding War

Fiscal Firepower

Translation: No Deal firepower exists only if there is a deal.

THus, Phillip Hammond's statement is mathematical nonsense.

Phillip Hammond is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but not for long. Johnson will get rid of him. The Chancellor of the Exchequer position is equivalent to Finance Minister in the EU and similar to the Secretary of the Treasury in the US.

Word Munching Mode

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, proposed voting with Labour in a Motion of No Confidence to stop a No Deal Brexit.

Hancock Today: Hancock is backing Johnson because he was “best placed to deliver Brexit”.

Word Munching Part 2

Merkel Willing to Look at New Proposals

Jeremy Hunt: “I’ve had a conversation with Angela Merkel and .. she said ‘Of course we will look at any proposals made by a new UK prime minister’ because she wants to solve this problem,” the foreign secretary told Sky News. “And providing we’re sensible, and I think the approach that I’ve laid out is a sensible approach and a fair approach, and I think that it’s in Germany’s interests as well. She has said is she will look at the package and I think she will look at it with an open mind.”

Game Theory

Merkel's comments are as expected in this corner. I have written about this setup at least twice. It is precisely what Game Theory dictates.

  1. Brexit "Do or Die" Game Theory: Is Johnson Lying? Hunt? Ireland? EU?
  2. Brexit: Please, Let's Discuss 10 Pertinent Facts

Pressure? You bet.

All Johnson needs to do is stand his ground.

Pressure on EU

Merkel is no longer calling the shots, but she can apply pressure. More importantly, so can Ireland.

Ireland will remain in the EU. And it will bear a huge, potential 4% hit to GDP, up front.


The EU's stance will remain: We will not change the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) up until the point they are certain Johnson will indeed walk.

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But Hunt and Johnson are now in a "Bidding War" game of who is really more committed to delivering "No Deal" the soonest.

I do not for a second believe Hunt. I do believe Johnson.

The important point is Hunt's attempts to out-do Johnson, increasingly box Johnson into a Brexit corner if he was not firmly there in the beginning.

Too Late to Change the Withdrawal Agreement

Nothing is certain, but It may be too late to change the backstop in the WA.

However, it is not too late to make some changes that will ease No Deal difficulties.


The EU will not change anything to help the UK, per se. But the EU is also unlikely to toss Ireland under the bus. On grounds of helping Ireland, the EU has a face-saving mechanism at hand.

For the Benefit of Ireland

  1. The EU may agree to a time-limited land backstop
  2. The EU may agree to a time-limited sea backstop
  3. The EU may agree to a "temporary" 10-year trade deal.

I expect point 1 or point 2 coupled with a decent shot at point 3. In return, Johnson will have to pay the full Brexit exit fee and bend on some other things as well.

Managed No Deal Unicorn

The above scenario is the Managed No-Deal Unicorn and it should be increasingly clear we are headed down that path.

Even if negotiation falls short on point three, there will be a series of smaller agreements to mitigate some of the damage.

Expect a Genuine Brexit

A permanent customs union or threat of one, will not deliver Brexit.

Johnson has explicitly ruled that out.

Remain and Referendum are not going to happen.

Time has Run Out

For a revised timeline in which it is possible to stop Brexit, please see UK MPs Propose Government Shutdown to Stop No Deal Brexit

Today, even Remainers like Hancock are falling in line while the government shutdown idea bites the dust.

So, take your choice between

  1. A Managed No Deal (WTO-Deal with a temporary trade agreement)
  2. An Unmanaged No Deal (with or without fighting)

No Deal Irony

Number 1 is only feasible if the EU really believes Johnson will walk, in time to do something about it.

Attempts to stop No Deal outright increase the odds the EU will not take the UK seriously, thus number 2.

There might be something between 1 and 2 depending on where one draws lines.

September 30 Deadline

Hunt's September 30 deadline is very interesting. It allows a full month for the UK and EU to make arrangements for a managed deal. Johnson may adopt Hunt's idea after he is elected.

The EU would then be forced to take Johnson serious.

Time will have long expired for a successful motion of no confidence to stop Brexit.

For political reasons, a motion of no confidence is more likely to succeed after Brexit, but even then only if polls indicate Labour can win. There is a significant portion of Labour, perhaps 25% or more, that wants Brexit.

Finally, if Johnson delivers a "good deal" his popularity will soar. He may call for elections himself.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock