With exactly one year to go until the moment Britain leaves the EU, we asked our writers for five predicitions for the next 12 months.
• Brexit will happen. Short of a major world crisis there will be no second referendum, at least not in the UK
• Angela Merkel will fall before Theresa May and neither Corbyn nor Rees-Mogg will be next PM
• Though wounded, an angry Donald Trump will stay in office, a threat to world trade and peace
• Facebook and other over-mighty internet giants will be humbled by state regulation and taxation
• England will not win the World Cup and the Daily Mail will blame Anna Soubry
• A well known British company will be taken over by a foreign investor, perhaps a major pharmaceutical company like AstraZeneca or even ITV.
• Ford will announce that it is moving more production to Europe, with the loss of hundreds of jobs in Wales
• The big six energy companies will become five, cutting consumer choice despite Government attempts to cap bills
• A high street name will go bust as consumers continue to feel the pressure of inflation: this could be a restaurant group like Byron or a retailer. Sadly Mothercare, Carpetright, Claire’s Accessories are all on the critical list
• Ryanair will close a UK base as it protests the delay to the signing of an aviation agreement between the UK and the EU
• In the Lords, there will be more victories for common sense as the Brexit legislation passes through the chamber
• Summer recess will be dominated by rumours of plots in Westminster as evidence mounts of Russian involvement in EU referendum and more companies relocate
• Russia will be expected to massively increase gas tariffs once we quit EU
• May’s Brexit deal in the Autumn will offer a palpably worse future than we had before. It will narrowly pass through the House as Corbyn three-line-whips MPs to back it
• Labour and Tory MPs who vote against it will find their positions untenable and defect to Lib Dems
• Theresa May will be gone (a hope more than a prediction)
• Jacob Rees-Mogg will be leader of the Tory party (a fear more than a prediction)
• A new party – whether it’s Renew or something else – will be grabbing headlines (this has to happen)
• Brexit will still be happening nominally but will be subject to all kinds of weird delays (100% likely)
• I will get an Irish passport (not a prediction, a certainty)
• Theresa May will be defeated in the Lords in key votes on the Brexit bill after Easter
• The Conservatives will lose scores of seats in May’s local elections, including in London, further weakening the PM’s position
• the PM will be boosted by a mid-summer EU summit at which progress is made on the final Brexit deal
• Yet the issue of the Northern Ireland border will still be unresolved by the October deadline on a final deal, and the DUP will threaten to withdraw support for the government
• Even if a final Brexit deal is reached by then, May will face defeat on the meaningful vote in parliament if Tory rebels, the DUP and/or Labour are unhappy
• Nigel Farage reluctantly returns as UKIP leader at relocates party HQ to Frankfurt ‘for commuting purposes’
• Jeremy Corbyn re-admits Ken Livingstone and George Galloway to Labour Party; awaits replies from David Irving and David Duke
• Theresa May spontaneously combusts during PMQs. Leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg agree to settle succession ‘the old fashioned way’
• Jacob Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson die from gunshot wounds sustained during a duel on Hampstead Heath. New PM is surprise outsider candidate Bradimir Butin
• Vince Cable still Lib Dem leader
• A wasp replaces Liam Fox as international trade secretary. Theresa May explains the insect will continue its predecessor’s work of flying around annoying people while serving no discernible purpose.
• Fears that the environment secretary has been bringing his work on fisheries home with him are confirmed when Michael Gove is found with a small chub in his trousers.
• May resigns after the Tories are wiped out at the local elections, losing all their councils apart from one in the county of Borsetshire. Conservatives praise the work of local data experts Ambridge Analytica.
• Jacob Rees-Mogg reiterates his fears that Britain will become a vassal state if Brexit is reversed. He tells the Commons: ‘Who wants to live in a state run by the former Aston Villa forward Darius Vassal?’
• After UKIP goes bankrupt, accountants reveal that a majority of party members were never comfortable with the concept of being ‘in the black