Why didn't I support the Cooper-Letwin Bill last night when I oppose leaving the EU without a deal? Because despite having sympathy with its aims it's a terrible piece of legislation that doesn't do what people are claiming.
There are few people in the UK who oppose the Brexit process more than the QC Joylon Maugham. I don't share all his views but on this he's right - this bill is "hopeless", "a sideshow" and a "dangerous distraction".
Rather than me bore you with a long post about all the issues with the bill which meant it shouldn't have been allowed to be pushed through in a day last night, please do read his article.
I am seriously worried that a number of MP’s judgement will now be clouded by the mistaken belief they have taken no deal off the table. They have not, it can still happen, it is not fully in our control. Legally requiring the Prime Minister to seek an extension of article 50 doesn't legally bind the EU27 to giving us one.
That was why I didn’t support the bill, because people’s minds need to be focused on the potential for this to happen. Now many have a false sense of security that they have an insurance policy to protect against it when they don’t. That could cause serious problems for us in the days and weeks ahead. In fact, this bill increases the changes of no deal if it makes MPs think they don't actively have to choose an alternative course of action to avoid it.
Symbolic gestures are all very well, but we're too late in the day for those. MPs can vote until they are blue in the face that they don't want no deal, but unless a deal is agreed, or we revoke article 50, it could happen.
You can read all my statements on Brexit here: https://www.paulmasterton.org.uk/news/brexit-update-0