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Theresa May continues to kick the can down the road long after she has run out of road. In a never to be forgotten week she cancelled a vote on her Brexit plan, but only after more than 160 MP’s had taken part in a three-day debate.
This was followed by a no-confidence motion within the parliamentary Conservative party that she won by 200 votes to 117 in what was one of the great missed opportunities of parliamentary history. With her Brexit policy in tatters, and no real confidence that she was the best person to pick up the pieces, Tory MPs kicked their own can down the road.
She was saved by the payroll vote but also by a reluctance among some MP’s to risk a leadership election that would surely have elevated a Brexiteer to the leadership and premiership. She was likely to have diverted some votes to her side by confirming she would go before 2022.
Even more important was her stated intention to get reassurance from Brussels tomake it clear that the UK could unilaterally free itself from the Backstop.
Of course, this was whistling in the wind. No such assurances were likely, and none were forthcoming in Brussels where once again she cut a beleaguered and humiliated figure. The Irish, in particular, will fight tooth and nail to preserve every last comma of the backstop. If she did not know that, there is little point in persevering in her job.
She now has a few weeks over Christmas to cajole Brussels into providing some warmer words, but given Irish determination to preserve their stepping stone to Irish Unity there is no possibility of any substantive change to the Agreement. With no changes the WA will not get parliamentary approval and the crisis will deepen.
We take some solace from the fact that at least one senior cabinet Minister, the Foreign Secretary and former health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, a former Remain voter, has seen the light and is now urging May to opt for a no-deal and to stand up to the EU. We agree with Jeremy Hunt when he said the UK will “flourish and prosper” even if it walks away from the EU without a deal.
Professor Robert Tombs, wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph entitled: “If Macron can’t reform his country, how can he hope to save the faltering EU?” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/15/macron-cant-reform-country-can-hope-save-faltering-eu/
This follows on from his previous Telegraph Article: “To argue that the people didn’t understand the Brexit vote undermines Parliament’s sovereignty” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/12/10/argue-people-didnt-understand-brexit-vote-undermines-parliaments/
Dr Graham Gudgin, took part in a Radio 5 Live discussion on Friday night with Mike Buckley of Labour for a Peoples Vote presented by Geoff Lloyd. A series of inaccurate facts presented by Buckley about how badly the UK economy was doing went unchallenged as the presenter moved quickly on. In fact, for most of this year the UK has been growing at twice the rate of the Eurozone which is currently moving into recession. All of this passed Buckley by, as did the 600,000 jobs created in the UK since the referendum or the quarter million drop in numbers unemployed. Instead fake news went out over the airwaves and was not fully countered by me in a fast-moving discussion.
On the website this week our News
It has been a busy week on the site as contributors once again rush to write about aspects of the growing crisis.
David Blake writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/is-theresa-may-under-the-coercive-control-of-the-european-union/
He begins: “Evan Stark defined coercive control as a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away an individual’s liberty and to strip away their sense of self. The Prime Minister’s Brexit negotiations have shown that she has been “subjected to a pattern of domination that includes tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control”.
Baroness Deech writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/up-with-this-we-will-not-put/
“If there is one thing that even many staunch Remainers will not stomach, it is being bullied into changing our mind under a barrage of state propaganda; the British voter remembers how the Dutch and Greek nay-voters were treated and up with this they will not put. Threats and inducements and speculative financial prognoses will not work.”
An Anonymous civil servant writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/the-reprehensible-in-pursuit-of-the-indefensible/
The civil servant argues that: “The only mystery in the Brexit omnishambles being presided over by Theresa May is that she is still – at the time of writing – the occupant of Number 10. After a catalogue of incompetence, deceit, u-turns, prevarication and sublime disregard for the truth, the zombie PM is being allowed out of Downing Street yet again to seek ‘reassurance’ for MPs from the EU about the terms of the Northern Ireland backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.”
Professor Richard Tuck writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/a-second-referendum-just-what-the-wreckers-want/
“Remainers such as Tony Blair have already played a damaging trick on the country: they have made a reasonable agreement with the EU practically impossible. Now they want to play a second trick: to use the shambles for which they are largely responsible as an excuse to corrupt the democratic process. They want to overturn one referendum, but then claim that another is final. This is an unprincipled and frivolous strategy.”
Dr Graham Gudgin writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/whos-afraid-of-martin-wolf/
Dr. Gudgin takes to task the influential Financial Times economic commentator Martin Wolf who he argues has a lurid and excessive view of what would be involved in a no deal scenario. Gudgin argues that the immediate impact of no deal will be much less dramatic than Remainers suggest.
Sir Andrew Wood writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/what-does-brexit-really-mean/
Sir Andrew argues that Brexit has implications for the future of the European Union and its member states, and for its relations with the world. Both the British government and the EU have failed to consider these fundamental long-term issues adequately.
Briefings for Brexit writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/we-need-a-clean-brexit-not-this-mad-withdrawal-agreement/
An anonymous contributor argues that: The Withdrawal Agreement is so full of absurdities that neither Leavers nor Remainers could possibly accept it. Remainers immediately called it the “worst of both worlds”. So can we make sense of this? We can if we look through Lewis Carroll’s eyes. The WA has been drafted with the support of pro-Remain civil servants using the Mad Hatter strategy of putting forward proposals that are completely barking. The clear purpose of this strategy is for the population to begin thinking that, if this is what Brexit means, we’d be better off remaining in the EU.
Princeton Professor Ashoka Mody writes: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/ignore-the-brexit-scare-stories-they-have-no-basis-in-sound-economics/
We summarise an article in the Independent newspaper by Ashoka Mody, visiting Professor at Princeton and former deputy director of the IMF’s International and European Research Department. He is also author of the acclaimed recent book, ‘The Euro Tragedy. A drama in Six Acts’. Mody argues that the impact of leaving the EU will be minimal and accuses leaders of ignoring real issues of sovereignty and security to focus instead on scare tactics. We present the opening paragraphs of the article and then summarise the rest with a link to the whole piece.
In this Exclusive B4B podcast David Jones the Conservative MP for Clwyd West and former DEXEU Minister, tells listeners why he now thinks Theresa May, the Prime Minister, should ditch her failed Withdrawal Agreement and begin negotiations with the EU for a CETA (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) free-trade agreement similar to the one it recently signed with Canada.
Jones was one of 48 Conservative MPs who wrote to the 1922 backbench Committee, representing 15 per cent of the Party, asking for a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May’s leadership.
Brexiteer Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative MP for Berwick Upon Tweed represents a fishing constituency that voted to Leave the EU in the 2016 Referendum and after reading all 585 pages of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement she resigned her junior ministerial position in the Department of Education. It was a hard decision to take but Trevelyan says she could not support a deal that threatened British sovereignty in this way.
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