As I’ve discussed previously, October is expected to be the month where negotiations end. If we go beyond then, a multitude of issues will make further negotiations inconvenient and difficult. It’s for this reason that it’s in our best interests to pressure Theresa May to do the right thing now, and if there is going to be a leadership challenge in the party, it must also happen now. It’s almost September, and we don’t have much time.
Interestingly, Barnier thinks that we’ll miss it – but not by much. During a press conference yesterday, 21st August, the chief EU Brexit negotiator told the media that he expects to come to an agreement with the UK by early November. He explained:
"If you count backwards from that date, March 30 2019, the day on which the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union – while remaining for 21 months, if we reach an agreement, in the single market, customs union and European policies – the countdown backwards from there has to take account of the time which is necessary for ratification.
“That is a given, it will take a certain amount of time to ratify the agreement – on the UK side and the European side.
"That takes us for a final agreement on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration well before the end of the year – I'm not going to say October, a few days here, the beginning of November, but not much later than that."
But, he also said that the EU shouldn’t be blamed if there isn’t a Brexit deal at all. We already know that the European Union is concerned about a No Deal Brexit hurting their political project more than the UK, but they’re already making their excuses in case it does happen.
During the same press conference, Barnier said that Brussels would not accept the blame if an agreement couldn’t be struck. And you know what, that’s fine. We know it’s their fault so they can deny it all they like – and I still believe that as long as the EU even exists, we won’t get a decent deal anyway.
Dominic Raab is doing his best, though…I think. At least, he’s going through the motions and putting on a brave face. He has vowed to “negotiate continuously” in order to meet the deadline, or at least not let it go beyond November.