Whatever comes of Theresa May’s footsie with Jeremy Corbyn, it is hard to see how she avoids asking the EU for an extension of the Article 50 in the hope that one day, over the rainbow, a majority will appear for her thrice-rejected deal.
The EU has made it clear that any extension means Britain taking part in the European Parliament elections. It is legally impossible for the EU27 and the Commission to do otherwise.
So here local authorities have been instructed to prepare. Parties have started choosing candidates. Labour has emailed all its members asking anyone to nominate themselves for the 54 MEP candidate vacancies Labour needs to fill –and fast.
The switch to proportional representation for these EP elections in 1999 was the moment when Ukip and Nigel Farage entered UK political history, taking just 15 years to emerge as the biggest party in the European Parliament in 2014.
But the paradox of Brexit is that the same PR system can help to deliver a breakthrough for a new post-Brexit politics. EP elections will be the first moment when the TIG breakaway MPs headed by Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry – now rebadged Change UK – can put up a nationwide slate of candidates and see what support they have.