Surely there is now only one way out of the mess we are in over Brexit. Mrs May has valiantly tried to produce a result which is faithful to the view of the majority in the 2016 referendum whilst avoiding some of what she believes to be the undesirable consequences of a “no-deal” Brexit. It has now become clear that such a result cannot be achieved: a deal requires the agreement of both sides, and there is no prospect of a deal acceptable to the UK Parliament being acceptable to the EU or vice versa. We are therefore left with a straight choice between staying in the EU or leaving without a deal.
That choice should surely be left to the voting public in a fresh referendum in which the choice is clearly explained to them and the pros and cons of both courses are put forward by the two camps. If the majority opts for a no-deal Brexit, that is what we will have. If the majority opts to remain in the EU, it is difficult to see why their view should be subordinated to those of the majority in 2016. Whatever the electorate's choice, it will hopefully be based on a much clearer understanding of the issues and arguments on both sides than was possible in 2016.
This being so, is not the way forward for Mrs May, having failed in her honourable attempt to achieve a mutually acceptable deal, to hand over the reins of the Conservative party and the government to somebody who is willing and able to lead us towards a second referendum (preferably someone not tied to either side of the debate, and willing and able to remain neutral and to accept and implement the view of the majority, whatever that may be)?
HH Jeremy Roberts QC is a BiE expert, and formerly a Judge at the Central Criminal Court. Judge Roberts is a member of the Parole Board and a Master of the Bench at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.