I"Do not die" is a quiet summer, albeit punctuated by the repeated pledges of Boris Johnson to take over the "do or die" – deal or no deal – on 31 October. Then quite suddenly, Britain's long-running Brexit drama turned into a crisis.

The majority of prime minister is in the right place.

Parliament, meanwhile, was – perhaps unlawfully – suspended until 14 October, anticipating the future of the future.

How did this play out, what does it mean and where might it go? If you're blindsided or even just bewildered by the ever-present plot of twists in the interminable saga of Britain's efforts to leave the EU, this is for you.

How did it all kick off?

The first hint of the Brexit beast might have been about to wake up from its slumber in August, after the new government – made up mostly of hardcore believers, unlike its predecessor whatever the circumstances ", Britain would leave the EU Brexit deadline of 31 October.





Protest dressed as Boris Johnson digs a grave outside Downing Street on August 28th.



Protest dressed as Boris Johnson digs a grave outside Downing Street on August 28th. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

Having decided – narrowly – in June 2016 that Britain should leave the EU, voters had offered no guidance to the destination: a soft Brexit, remaining close to the EU; a hard Brexit, distancing itself from the block; no deal at all.

Theresa May's government thought it was possible to vote, and negotiated with the EU27 the only exit deal possible. Parliament, however, had other ideas, refusing to endorse the deal and forcing the UK to delay its planned departure.

Afterwards, we've got a lot of votes. And in came Johnson.

The problem, said the new prime minister, was that the treaty was in the infamous Irish backstop, the mechanism to avoid a return to a hard line between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It was "undemocratic", he said, and had to go.

The UK would, of course, prefer to leave a deal, but it would not change its popularity, would even change its mind. It was up to "our friends and partners" in the EU to budge.

But after spending nearly two painstaking years negotiating the 577 pages of Theresa May's deal and having always said it could not be reopened, the EU did not believe Johnson wanted a deal. His "central scenario", European diplomats were told, was to crash out.

And that 's where things stood – when the prime minister suddenly announced he had asked the Queen to suspend parliament for five weeks, from early September to mid – October.

And it all, for want of a better term, kicked off.

An unprecedented 10 days

Suspension, or extension, is normal in between governments; it usually lasts a couple of weeks. It is not normal for the past few days before arguably the most momentous event in the country's history since the second world war.





Boris Johnson and his special advisor Dominic Cummings.



Boris Johnson and his special advisor Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

Unless steps were taken on 31 October the UK would, with huge consequences, crash out of the EU without a deal. Opposition and Rebel Tory MPs Assumed Johnson Wanted to Stop What He Wanted. They were outraged.

With a window of barely a week before prorogation kicked in, Labor, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Greens joined forces with 21 doughty Tory objectors, including two former chancellors and Winston Churchill's grandson.

Amid nationwide public protests, johnson and his cabinet, to the point of being off-the-top, no-deal law, and threatening to expel from the Conservative party, any rebels who dared vote for one. It did not stop them. His opponents declared parliamentary war.

Together, they voted for sixteen control of the parliamentary agenda, and then, in a series of remarkable votes, rammed through a bill forcing Johnson to ask the EU for another extension – he said he would rather " die in a ditch "- if there was still no agreed Brexit deal by mid-October.





Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on September 4



Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on 4 September Photograph: Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament

Many of the Conservative rebels said their resolve had been made by the prime minister's bullying. Their subsequent sackings – by text message- enraged moderate Conservatives who lamented what they called the transformation of their previously broad-church party into a narrow, extremist Brexit sect.

Within a week of parliament's return, Johnson had suffered an unprecedented six consecutive parliamentary defeats, including two on motions of his own demanding an early election: perhaps not surprisingly, his failed purge with a majority of minus 41, he failed to get the required two-thirds of MPs' votes.

Rebel and opposition MPs alike by so had a little trust in Johnson that they refused to allow any fresh elections until they were sure of an extension and a no-deal Brexit on 31 October ruled out. Even his own brother, Jo, quit the cabinet, citing a conflict between "family loyalty and the national interest".





MPs protest in the House of Commons as parliament is suspended.



MPs protest in the House of Commons as parliament is suspended. Photograph: Clive Lewis / Parliament

Amid unprecedented scenes in parliament, the prime minister on Monday went ahead with his decision to suspend parliament until 14 October. But there was one more twist: sensationally, Scottish judges declared the move was aimed at silencing parliament and was therefore unlawful. The supreme court will rule next week.

So what happens now?

Not for the first time in the Brexit saga, that's the £ 350m-a-week issue. Britain is certainly – again not for the first time – an international laughing stock. But where is it that long ago, quiet summer. Commentators see four main options.

First, Johnson could still get a deal, where possible, in the United States, in the Irish Sea. It might be very difficult, but perhaps possible – Labor MPs in leave-voting constituencies want to deliver, and Tory hardliners may see this as their last chance.

Second, he could break his promise, request an extension and then immediately demand an election, counting on a fiercely anti-EU, people-versus-parliament campaign to see him through. This could, however, be aided by the possibility of a second referendum.





Jeremy Corbyn speaks in the House of Commons on September 3



Jeremy Corbyn speaks in the House of Commons on September 3 Photograph: Roger Harris / AFP / Getty Images

Third, he could go full no deal on 31 October as he promised, ignoring the law (or at least testing it to its limits in the courts). He could then call an early election after the UK leaves, trusting that with Brexit delivered, the Brexit party will be no more – and hoping that no deal is not so catastrophic that the country does not give him a kicking.

Finally, he could be pushed out by a no-confidence vote or step down of his own accord. Rather than the divisive Jeremy Corbyn, a more neutral figure (Ken Clarke?) Might then head up to a temporary government. Elections would then follow which, if he campaigned for no deal, Johnson could conceivably win.

Will the EU27 play ball? They are, certainly, rapidly running out of patience. Most now would really like the UK. They would never throw Ireland under the bus by ditching the backstop – if they could not be avoided, they would be pleased.

A good reason (elections, a new government) would be needed, but it is hard to see even Emmanuel Macron refusing a request for an extension intended to avoid no deal.

No one wants to be seen helping the UK over the cliff edge.

.