A leading north-east politics professor says the most likely Brexit scenario is that powerless MPs will “just kick the can down the road” for a few months and nothing will really change.
Professor Michael Keating is the director of Aberdeen University’s Centre on Constitutional Change and spoke to The P&J about Theresa May’s Commons defeat.
“It’s possible they will postpone the leaving date to July, but it’s not clear what that will do,” Prof Keating said.
“We have not reached an agreement in two-and-a-half years, so an extra few months won’t do anything.
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“I don’t see any scope for tweaking this deal or making substantial changes.
“The most likely scenario is they will just kick the can down the road for a few months and we’ll be back where we are now in July.”
He added: “In the north of Scotland we don’t know what the future of agricultural policy or trade is.
“And across the UK there’s a problem with investment because of all the uncertainty.
“Businesses are getting very worried.”
Speaking on the future of Mrs May in the top job, he stated that it was unlikely that she would be ousted as a result of last night’s vote.
He said: “There are wider constitutional issues at play here, and I doubt we should be expecting a new Prime Minister any time soon.
“It is clearly a serious defeat, that much is certain, and there is no clear alternative at this stage.
“We will have to see how things progress over the coming hours and days.
“And Theresa May is quite determined to stick with her deal.
“She could just keep asking MPs to vote until they agree with it – but the more she puts this to the House of Commons, the more stubborn MPs will become.”
Prof Keating says more politicians are coming round to the idea of the Norway option and this could be settled on as a compromise but, ultimately, the future of Brexit remains very unclear.
“The Norway option has been rejected by both sides because it’s neither in nor out, but it might just be a possibility,” he added.