FOR months, I have been assured by bright-eyed Labour supporters, that Jeremy Corbyn would eventually “pivot” to a Peoples Vote. Don’t worry, they say. He’s only going through the motions; ruling out unacceptable alternatives. He’ll surely arrive at the only rational option: namely that parliament is deadlocked and the only ones who can unlock it are the people who got us into this mess in the first place - the voters.

It always seemed to me to be a triumph of hope over experience to expect that a party led by a longstanding eurosceptic, and which has a manifesto commitment to honouring Brexit and ending free movement, would fall into line with Tony Blair and Lord Adonis. And so it proved. Last week Remainer hearts were broken as Labour laid to rest any doubts that it is now a pro-Brexit party.

On Monday, Labour caused fury in the ranks by initially not opposing the Tory Immigration Bill, ending free movement and undermining the status of EU migrants in Britain. Then on Tuesday, after the multi-option what-to-do-about-Brexit debate, 25 Labour MPs including, 11 front benchers, broke the party whip to defeat the Yvette Cooper amendment, which sought to delay Brexit. Labour’s own half-hearted motion offering a referendum as a possible last resort was also rejected. But the defeat of the Cooper amendment was more significant because it represented a proxy vote against a People’s Vote. If Labour can’t even manage to win a delay, it said, how could it expect to deliver a repeat referendum? It was a rejection of a Peoples Vote without actually having to say so.

How do we know this? Well, first of all because Jeremy Corbyn took no disciplinary action against the 25 Labour rebels. This was in marked contrast to the sacking in 2017 of a number of shadow ministers, including Owen Smith the Shadow Northern Ireland, for the crime of publicly supporting a Peoples Vote. Then, the moment the votes were in the bag, Jeremy Corbyn agreed to finally meet Theresa May, and seek to negotiate a Brexit that Labour can eventually support - and presumably claim credit for.

Labour’s headline demand is a permanent customs union - or at least “dynamic alignment” with the EU Customs Union and the European Single Market. That’s not a million miles from the Prime Minister’s “common rule book” under her own Withdrawal Agreement. Mr Corbyn also wants assurances on workers rights, the ending of free movement and protection from the EU rules on state aid to industry. Also various moves to support jobs in the wake of Brexit.

If Theresa May had any sense, she would strike a deal with Corbyn. She has already offered financial bribes to Labour “inbetweeners” in Leave constituencies. The obvious course for her now should be to get a new form of words from Brussels, assuring her party that the Irish Backstop is indeed temporary. A codicil, perhaps, declaring that the customs arrangements under the backstop must be replaced with a new trading relationship “as a matter of law”. That wouldn’t appease the DUP, but it might well be enough for Jacob Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson who are now eager for a compromise that ensures Brexit happens on cue next month.

What the hard anti-Europeans have wanted all along is a blind Brexit, in which Britain leave the EU without there being any clarity on future trading relations with Europe. Thus, they hope to force through their Singapore Sling revolution, turning the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation island sweatshop flooding the EU with cheap goods. Nothing in the Withdrawal Agreement actually prevents them achieving this, so long as the backstop is temporary.

But forget the ERG. All May really needs to do now is agree terms with Labour and the votes are in the bag. Even an abstention by most Labour MPs would be enough to guarantee her Brexit deal. The SNP, LibDems and pro-Remain Labour MPs (around a hundred) would not be enough to deny her a vote endorsing the Withdrawal Agreement later this month. And the fact that they would be voting with extreme Brexiteers and the DUP for a possible No Deal, would be good post-Brexit ammunition for Team Corbyn against the Blairite “Remainiacs”.

Of course, it is unwise to anticipate the thinking of this headstrong and notoriously inflexible Prime Minister. But even she must surely see that there is now a route to getting her much-maligned Withdrawal Treaty ratified on time, even if it means losing a few ERG headbangers and upsetting the DUP.

But what would this mean for Labour? Jeremy Corbyn could claim that he had rescued parliament and Britain from the chaos of a No Deal Brexit, and honoured the referendum. Leave voters in Labour target seats will be mollified. And when things turn sour after Brexit day, as seems pretty clear they will, he can blame the incompetence of the Prime Minister and renew his calls for a general election. He might even get one, if the DUP withdraw their support long term from Theresa May.

However, this cunning plan fails to take two things into account. First, there is a fairly clear majority now in the UK for Remain - moist obviously in places like Scotland where Labour’s name will be mud. But far worse is likely to be the reaction within Labour itself. The vast majority of Labour members are pro Remain, especially the younger members have been captivated by the prospect of a Peoples Vote. Many believed the party was going to deliver one.

This is partly a product of wishful thinking on social media, which is massively pro Remain. If you took your political intelligence from Twitter, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Peoples Vote had already happened and that Britain had voted by acclamation to remain in the European Union. There will be blank incomprehension from the ranks of Labour Millennials at this “betrayal” as some are already calling it. How could our jam-loving Jezza possibly end up backing Brexit, which many Remainers regard as tantamount to fascism? Tens of thousands of Labour members are already leaving in disgust. Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, who has been keeping the flame of Remain alive, will presumably resign.

It isn’t entirely over for the Peoples Vote. If Theresa May doesn’t seize the opportunity presented by Labour, and doggedly proceeds toward a No Deal, then the political situation could change rapidly. Parliament also made clear last week that a No Deal Brexit will be opposed. It’s just conceivable that, faced with a catastrophe, MPs would vote to Revoke Article 50, and then promise a referendum.

However, as things stand, there is no majority for an exit from Brexit. This will not be forgotten in Scotland, where many voters had been hoping that Labour might offer some leadership against the bald men of Brexit. Attachment to the Union will be rock bottom as Britain slides further into geo-political irrelevance. There will be widespread revulsion when Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson emerge to crow and preen themselves as the saviours of the People’s Will.