One way to avoid the looming catastrophe of Brexit would be for the 27 EU Member States simply and unilaterally to extend the negotiating period from two years to five – without waiting for a request to do so from the British government. They could use the argument that two years was simply too short for such a complex negotiation. I think at the same time they should refuse any transition period.
The British government would not like this proposal and could of course still insist on leaving after two years. But, since the present negotiations are leading to a cliff edge and to Britain simply crashing out of the EU, it seems highly unlikely that there would be a majority in Parliament to exit after two years when five years was on offer and available.
Anything could then happen in the following three years. In, very likely, a deep recession, Britain might come to its senses again. And a new government could well be in power.
My argument is set out in more detail in my recently published article in Dantemag which can be found here.