The former Labour MP, now a Liberal Democrat, told BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal does not solve the political impasse in the long term. But the BBC host challenged him on his party’s alternative solutions to the issue and pointed out they also do not resolve the debate in the long term. Mr Stayt said: “For some people, the argument you made there makes some sense – they are fed up with the process.
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“But I think the phrase you used a moment ago is that a ‘gangplank leads to nowhere’.
“Now, tomorrow, if the vote goes against Boris Johnson who knows what will happen – is what some people would say.
“That really is a vote into who knows what. Is there any evidence that the EU is ever going to offer a deal that is different from the one that we have now?”
The Lib Dem Remainer replied: “They have offered a deal – if you want to use that terminology – they said you can stay in the single market and the customs union.
“But it was this Conservative Government who said no to that.
“What we do know is that Parliament has passed that Benn Act which safeguards the situation in the short term, which means we don’t just crash out.
“And the Prime Minister, if there is no agreement that has been finalised by Parliament tomorrow, will have to send this letter and request an extension.
“And Donald Tusk, who is the President of the European Council, is clear that that has not been ruled out. Lots of parliamentarians have good relations with other Governments in the EU.”
But the BBC host interrupted Mr Umunna and rightly pointed out: “Yes, but that doesn’t get us anywhere! All that gets us is until Christmas.”
It comes as Boris Johnson faces an uphill challenge in the Commons on Saturday with MPs on all sides of the opposition benches pledging to vote against his Brexit proposal.
The DUP, which is crucial to the Prime Minister’s majority in Parliament, has vowed to vote against the deal on the issue of consent – or lack of – given to Northern Ireland over the future relationship with the EU.
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The Labour Party also vowed to vote against the deal, followed by the SNP and the Liberal Democrats.
If the deal does not get through the Commons the Prime Minister will be forced to ask for an extension to the Article 50 process as dictated by the Benn Act.
The extension will last until at least January 31, 2020, but it remains unclear whether the EU will grant it without any conditions attached to it.
European Council Donald Tusk suggested that an extension could only be granted this time if attached to either a second Brexit referendum or a general election.