Brexit has taken a back seat with the government this week – possibly overshadowed by the continuing row with Russia over the Salisbury chemical agent attack.
As Prime Minister Theresa May and senior ministers play their hand against Moscow, talks with the European Union have faded into the political background of Westminster.
The big Brexit bust-up seems to be within Labour.
Former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband has urged his party to back calls for a second referendum – a view that is opposite to that of leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Heavyweight yesterday’s men and older statesmen Tony Blair and John Major says the same – as does Liberal oldie Sir Vince Cable.
Maverick wants a soft Brexit
But Theresa May and Corbyn have both agreed a second vote is not going to happen.
Neither want another poll with a different result to muddy the Brexit waters even more.
Meanwhile, the cross-party Commons Brexit Committee, chaired by Labour maverick Hilary Benn wants a soft Brexit based on Norway’s deal with the EU to be considered as a fall-back position if trade talks go belly up.
Norway pays into EU coffers for the privilege of access to the single market but has no say in decision-making despite having to impose the rules Brussels dictates.
The committee has set 15 tests the Brexit deal must pass to be considered a success.
15 tests that May must pass
“Our tests set a high bar, but they are based on the prime minister’s vision for our future outside the EU and the statement by the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, David Davis MP, that any new deal would be at least as good as what we have now,” said Benn.
“It is vital that UK businesses are able to continue to trade freely and sell services into our largest market after we leave, without additional costs or burdens or a hard border in Northern Ireland and that we maintain close cooperation on defence, security, data and information sharing and consumer safety.”
Tests included keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, co-operation on crime and terrorism and tariff-free trade between the UK and EU.