With Boris Johnson finally in No. 10 we now have a prime minister who says he is committed to Britain leaving the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal. According to popular wisdom, the only way of avoiding the latter is for the government to negotiate a modified version of Theresa May’s deal, perhaps with the removal of the hated Irish backstop, or at least with a more easily digestible version. But these are not the only two options. As Boris hinted during his leadership campaign, only to be unfairly cut down, there is a third way.
May’s deal is based on a withdrawal agreement (WA) negotiated under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. It is improbable that a tweaked version of this could form a viable basis for leaving the EU — and not just because the WA has already been rejected in the Commons three times.