You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 3, 2019.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet met for over seven hours to discuss Brexit.

At the end of the meeting, May announced that she would seek help from the Opposition — Labour — leader Jeremy Corbyn:

The comments following that tweet are scathing.

Incidentally, in case anyone still believes that only the elderly voted for Brexit, there are millions of Britons like this young man who did, too:

It’s not just Corbyn whom May has invited on board for discussions. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party leader, who does not serve in Westminster, will also meet with PM May:

Although Twitter is littered with photos of cut-up Conservative Party membership cards, Remain Conservative MP Oliver Letwin is determined to prevent any efforts to move the UK to a No Deal World Trade Organization Brexit:

BrexitCentral has the full text of May’s announcement, excerpted below, emphases mine. She is dogged about getting her deal (‘Withdrawal Agreement’) through, not No Deal:

I have just come from chairing seven hours of Cabinet meetings focused on finding a route out of the current impasse – one that will deliver the Brexit the British people voted for, and allow us to move on and begin bringing our divided country back together.

I know there are some who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments that they would like to leave with No Deal next week. I have always been clear that we could make a success of No Deal in the long-term.

But leaving with a deal is the best solution.

So we will need a further extension of Article 50 – one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal. And we need to be clear what such an extension is for – to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.

This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer. It is putting Members of Parliament and everyone else under immense pressure – and it is doing damage to our politics.

Despite the best efforts of MPs, the process that the House of Commons has tried to lead has not come up with an answer.

So today I am taking action to break the logjam: I am offering to sit down with the Leader of the Opposition and to try to agree a plan – that we would both stick to – to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.

Any plan would have to agree the current Withdrawal Agreement – it has already been negotiated with the 27 other members, and the EU has repeatedly said that it cannot and will not be reopened.

What we need to focus on is our Future Relationship with the EU. The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a Future Relationship that delivers on the result of the Referendum, that both the Leader of the Opposition and I could put to the House for approval, and which I could then take to next week’s European Council.

If that does not work, then, it is back to Oliver Letwin’s indicative votes for various MPs’ alternative options. Both series of indicative votes — March 27 and April 1 — have failed thus far. While the new ones might be slightly different, it seems unlikely they would pass:

if we cannot agree on a single unified approach, then we would instead agree a number of options for the Future Relationship that we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue.

Even worse for those who voted Leave:

Crucially, the Government stands ready to abide by the decision of the House.

There is also a move by Labour MP Yvette Cooper to force May to seek a long extension to Article 50 (pictured is Speaker of the House John Bercow, a Remainer). This was scheduled for discussion on Wednesday, April 3:

In this cross-party effort, Cooper is working with Letwin — with the Speaker’s help — to thwart Brexit as it was meant to be.

The Daily Mail reports:

John Bercow ruled rebel MPs can try to push through laws to block No Deal in a single day tomorrow despite Brexiteer fury at the ‘reprehensible’ plot.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper has published draft laws that would oblige the Government to seek a long delay to Brexit next week if there is not a deal by April 10. 

She wants to use Commons time grabbed by Tory rebel Oliver Letwin tomorrow to ram the law through the Commons in a matter of hours.

Veteran Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash complained the idea was ‘unconstitutional’ today and urged the Commons Speaker to block it.

But Mr Bercow told him pushing through laws in a single day was ‘not particularly unusual’ in itself, pointing out the Government does so in an emergency.

The Speaker has repeatedly been accused of helping Remainers to frustrate Brexit and has threatened to block any further votes on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Also:

After Ms Cooper published her two-clause Bill today, Sir Bill, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the idea of a bill ‘effectively being rammed through in one day’.

Sir Bill said: ‘This is a reprehensible procedure in the context of this vitally important issue of our leaving the European Union. It is unconstitutional.

‘It is inconceivable that we should be presented with a bill which could be rammed through in one day.’

Returning to May’s hoped-for Brexit alliance with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, it is not sitting well with some Conservative MPs:

A former Conservative Party leader and current MP said:

These are the views from May’s Cabinet:

It looks as if the fix could have been in around lunchtime:

Fortunately, one Conservative MP, Nigel Adams, had the courage of his convictions to resign his positions, although he will continue to serve his constituency in Parliament. His letter is well worth reading (click the image twice to see each page separately):

The Press Association (PA) reported on the contents of his letter:

The Selby & Ainsty MP said: “Legitimising and turning to Jeremy Corbyn to assist you at this crucial stage, rather than being bold, is a grave error.

It is clear that we will now end up in the customs union. That is not the Brexit my constituents were promised and it is contrary to the pledge we made in our manifesto. It makes no sense to leave the EU and to have a situation where our trade policy and much of our law is made in Brussels with no say for the UK.”

Mr Adams, who was made a whip in January 2018 and promoted to the Wales Office in November, said he continued to believe that no deal was better than a bad deal.

Mr Adams’s letter is also partially quoted in Guido Fawkes’s tweet below:

Darren Grimes is probably accurate in his assessment above. A lot of fellow Britons of his age were enthusiastic about the referendum in 2016:

The author of the BrexitCentral article in the above tweet, Karl McCartney, is a former Conservative MP, who served between 2010 and 2017. He also sat on the Exiting the European Union and Transport Select Committees and the Executive of the 1922 Committee. He says there is obfuscation around the Irish border issue, which, in reality, is not a problem. It can be solved:

It is to the Irish Taoiseach and EU’s shame that their politicking around a non-issue – in their pursuit of a big enough spanner to throw in the ‘works’ of a deal – has been seen to be just that. That is, gaming the process and working outside the negotiations and using this very real but ‘fake’ Ireland issue to try and negate Brexit, or at best to permanently delay it. In doing so, they would be keeping the UK leashed at the very least as a supplicant in relation to the other 27 EU states, with no voting rights on all the important issues.

That is not leaving, and for democracy and politics to be fixed in the UK the powers-that-be ought to be aware that the voting public have had enough. They say so on the doorsteps as I and many activists are out knocking on doors and talking to people every weekend. They voted, in a majority, to leave, but whichever way they voted, they expected their will to be implemented.

To not understand that and to wilfully frustrate the original and recent People’s Vote of 2016, backed up by a general election when 85% backed the two main parties whose central policy plank was to implement the Leave result, leads us into a dark place.

Leaving the EU, even with no Withdrawal Agreement, does not mean we leave Europe, or that we will no longer trade with, or holiday in, Europe. It means we can carry on treating our nearest European countries as trading partners, on (friendly) WTO terms until further agreements are reached (yes, the Great British Public are going to love it when they realise that these Brexit negotiations are scheduled to go on for years and years, whatever happens with the Withdrawal Agreement). But whilst all this is happening with Europe, we will as a nation have our sovereign powers back to pass what laws we wish to, control immigration to our economic and social advantage and to reach out and engage in trade deals with the Commonwealth countries and all other countries around the world in the great global economy in which we are a proud and key player.

I couldn’t agree more!

As for the immediate future, any negotiations between May and Corbyn will be tricky. It is no wonder that Leave voters think the Opposition leader will be the de facto PM during this process:

That said, Labour MPs are not fond of the move, distrusting May’s intentions:

Of course, at Wednesday’s PM Question Time, everything appeared diplomatic:

That said, there was the usual PM v Opposition Leader sparring over respective party positions on issues other than Brexit.

May faced pointed questions from both sides of the House on Corbyn’s involvement with the Brexit process:

Conservative MP Lee Rowley asked:

Caroline Johnson asked:

Julian Lewis was unhappy with May’s stock answer to his question, which echoed the sentiments of many Leavers:

May also gave a stock answer to this Conservative:

I am much less hopeful about this process than ever. Someday, someone will write a book about what lay behind May’s ‘deal’ and why she pushed it. In any event, she no longer represents Leavers.

N.B. I wrote this after PMQs, so will not have an update today on the debate of the aforementioned Cooper-Letwin bill. More to come later.

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