Saturday 16 March 2019

Brexit: it looks as though Theresa May, Olly Robbins and the civil servants will win


On Thursday Theresa May's deal comes back to the Commons for a third time if the Speaker allows the Government to have a third attempt. It is against the rules of procedure and the Speaker is a narcissistic man who likes making big waves and who is publicly opposed to Brexit, but he probably will not stop it.

The man who should have discarded his peerage and been made Prime Minister when David Cameron resigned is his predecessor, Michael Howard, (the sons of immigrants from Romania, by the way) who horrified his successor by supporting Brexit.

Today he says that he would have voted against Theresa May's deal on the two occasions

when it came before the House but next week with a heavy heart he would support it, even though:

As the Attorney General, with commendable courage confirmed, the risk of the United Kingdom being trapped in the backstop against our will remains, though it has been reduced. And that is not the only feature of the Withdrawal Agreement that I dislike. It does not provide the Brexit I voted for.

What’s more, I have no great fear of what is misleadingly called a No Deal Brexit. A number of preparations have been made on both sides of the Channel to ensure that the worst predictions of the doomsters would not come to pass.

Regrettably, these preparations do not seem to have been co-ordinated. But, if it ever became clear that we were to leave the European Union without an overarching agreement, I am in little doubt that last-minute deals would be reached which would reduce any difficulties even more.
He sees the alternative as a long delay leading either to an even softer Brexit or no Brexit.

David Davis, who voted last week in favour of Theresa May's deal, said this to the Brexiteers of the European Research Group who heard him in silence.

“Tuesday will start to feel like the last chance saloon. As I said to the ERG, none of us want to vote for this thing - it’s worse than what I resigned over but the alternative is a cascade of catastrophe as the other side gets more room for manoeuvre to stop Brexit. We won’t survive another Cooper/Boles amendment and then we’re really done for.”

Since he spoke the Cooper/Boles amendment was passed ruling out leaving the EU without a deal and therefore leaving the EU to impose Theresa May's deal or no Brexit.

It is extremely sad. 

I am not sure which is worse: Mrs. May's deal or staying in. 

I assume her deal will pass somehow or another, with a few Tory abstentions and some Labour votes.  

What is certain is that if Brexit does not happen the Tory party will be as divided as it was in 1846 over the Corn Laws and, unlike then, the alternative is not the Whigs in power for decades but Jeremy Corbyn's hard left. 

If Theresa May's deal does pass Parliament I presume it means a Leaver quickly taking over as leader of the party and a lot of hardcore Remain MPs being deselected by their Leave-supporting local parties (Mr Boles left the party today). What follows I do not know and nor does anyone. 

Either way Britain and (infinitely less important) the Conservatives are humiliated and the EU is strengthened.

There is something attractive about staying in and making things very difficult for the people running the EU, so long as we do not stay in very long.

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