Having pulled the vote once already, May is now in the last-chance saloon. She has spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is expected to make more diplomatic calls to her European counterparts ahead of the recommencement of parliamentary debate on her deal next week.
Theresa May is back at work after the holidays — but, as the prime minister is fond of saying, nothing has changed.
May left Westminster in December assuring MPs she was working on new, last minute add-ons to the Brexit deal that the U.K. parliament is due to ratify in two weeks’ time, ahead of the country’s scheduled legal exit from the EU in just 12 weeks.
But Brussels says no substantial renegotiation is even taking place, and key Brexit-supporting MPs, including those of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her government, remain unconvinced.
It is fear of no deal, May seems to have calculated, that is her best card.
If cosmetic changes to her deal don’t change minds, May’s only hope is persuading MPs on either side of the Brexit divide to back her deal for fear of the alternatives — “no deal, or no Brexit,” as she puts it. “No Brexit” would require a second referendum which, despite increased momentum behind the idea, is still not backed by the leadership of either of the two main parties.
So it is fear of no deal, May seems to have calculated, that is her best card, and one that she and her ministers will talk up incessantly between now and the vote planned for the week beginning January 14.
Stephen Barclay, May’s third Brexit secretary, announced Thursday that a public information campaign on social media and radio would be launched next Tuesday to prepare the British public for a no-deal exit from the European Union.
This government have been nothing but incompetent in both governing the UK and negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the European union.
The so called RED LINES May set have not so much been Red lines but lines in the sand, constantly shifting even at times disappearing only to reappear in another of her mid afternoon game show slogans designed to please the masses yet lacking in substance.
“Brexit means Brexit!”
Brexit means whatever the events of the day brings would have been more apt!
May is hoping MPs simply won’t risk it, but her former Brexit Secretary David Davis for one is calling her bluff. Giving no indication he has shifted in his opposition to her deal, he suggested in the Daily Telegraph that heading down the no-deal path would be no bad thing, and would bring the EU back to the negotiating table.
The U.K.’s neighbors are also making no-deal contingencies an ever-greater priority. Ireland’s agriculture minister, Michael Creed, told the Irish Independent hundreds of millions of euros would be sought in aid from the EU were Ireland faced with a no-deal scenario. The country, which sends 15 percent of its exports to the U.K., would face a serious economic hit from new trade barriers.
Democratic Unionist Party — who stand opposed to the deal’s “backstop” clause for avoiding an economic border on the island of Ireland by keeping the U.K. inside a customs union with the EU — who represent her best hope for making up the numbers in favor.
May has sought further “assurances” from the EU, as she obliquely puts it, that the backstop — were it needed — would not be permanent.
The UK would not be able to leave the backstop unilaterally – meaning the EU would need to approve the backstop ending.
This could lead to the UK being required to follow EU rules for an indefinite amount of time, while holding no say in them due to the leaving status.
Barry Gardiner “we would effectively become vassal state”
The UK would technically not be a member of the EU, but we would in effect become a vassal state: obliged to pay into the union’s budget while having even less sovereignty than we do now – no longer able to appoint commissioners, sit on the EU council to have a say in how we determine our regulations and laws, or appoint British judges to the ECJ to adjudicate disputes. The 52% would almost certainly consider this a con.
The best option for the country is to bring it back to the people.
Those championing a second referendum should understand it is not the simple escape button they portray it as. Leaving aside that no Conservative prime minister will ever support another referendum without instantly being dethroned, how will this parliament agree on the question? Or, indeed, how many options there are? The last referendum unleashed demons that will stalk politics and our society for a generation: the bitterness and viciousness of a second campaign will make the first seem genteel and polite by comparison. The most reactionary elements in Britain will dominate TV, radio and press coverage for weeks, and their demagogic campaign will claim that the establishment is re-running the vote until it gets the right decision. Those who think remain would triumph second time around are showing the same arrogance and entitlement that helped lose the first referendum. Before the 2016 referendum campaign began, remain had a big lead. It then lost.
If the deal is voted down the first time, then the entire government – not just May – will have forfeited its right to rule.
A vote of no confidence must be brought instead. Both the government, and the parliamentary arithmetic, must be changed. Labour’s argument to the electorate would be as follows: replace May’s negotiating position with our own, and abandon the grandstanding, to get a deal that doesn’t menace jobs, living standards and the economy. Second, deal with the injustices that led so many to vote for Brexit in the first place.
But the focus now must be on defeating this deal and forcing a general election that offers up a new government to renegotiate with the EU (with a delay on article 50), and finally end the austerity that is the root of this country’s political and social ills. Labour MPs must be lobbied, passionately but politely, not to prop up May and her deal. This is a moment of national peril and tragedy, and it is the Tories who brought us here. It can only be truly ended when the most catastrophic British government of modern times is finally removed.
Brexit should be brought back to the people not with a so called people’s vote but via a General Election. A general election where all parties present in their manifestos their Brexit policy. Let the people truly decide.
Labour must evince a positive vision for the future of our country outside the EU. One that is consistent with the leave voters’ objectives, without sacrificing our rights and protections, as the Conservatives threaten to do.