In the wake of the Supreme Court Judgment the ‘Brexit’-Minister, Mr David Davis, told the House of Commons that the government would introduce a Bill, as demanded by the Judges, for Parliament to vote on so that PM May can trigger Article 50.
That Bill is so short that it can be reproduced here in its entirety (source):
“European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill
A BILL TO
Confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
1 Power to notify withdrawal from the EU
(1) The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
(2) This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment.
2 Short title
This Act may be cited as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.”
The House of Commons will debate this for five days, starting on January 31st, with a vote expected yesterday, February 1st, followed by three more days of debate (source).
Being somewhat interested in the outcome, and in what our representatives have had to say, I followed the debates on the Parliamentary TV channel, and I have to say – I lost the will to live.
The Opposition and some MPs on the Government benches – given their statements proclaiming their refusals to vote for this bill – seem to be entirely incapable of understanding what David Davis said when he laid out the bill, the proposed timetable for debates, the promise of a “White Paper” as soon as possible. He might as well not have bothered saying anything at all!
The statements of the main opposition speakers (for example Keith Starmer for Labour, or Steven Gethins SNP or Tim Farron Libdem) can best be subsumed as “we’re against it, we dislike it, we never wanted Brexit in the first place and never mind the EU Referendum result”.
Then we had a statement by Kenneth Clarke, who treated his colleagues and us who watched to a historical review which contradicted our – well, certainly my! – experience of the past 30 years. He seemed to have forgotten that we pro-Brexit voters actually can remember what things were like before the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties. If you want an ironic resumée of that Tuesday debate, here’s the column by Quentin Letts: worth having a look!
The tedious posturing of the MPs was beyond belief. It was as if that lot had understood nothing of why we voted for Brexit last June. It was as if they wanted nothing more dearly than to roll back time, take our vote back, and while they’re at it, to undermine the government’s efforts to get a good deal whilst they’re at it.
One MP, the Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, pointed out what that vote, and this Bill, really was about. Here’s the link to his full speech, and I do recommend you all to watch it. Yes, I know he’s a Tory, but he makes the points which we can all pick up and use whenever we talk to people, be it canvassing at the Copeland and Stoke by-elections, be it everywhere else.
In both sessions (Tuesday 31st Jan and Wednesday 1st Feb) opponents – and we know that the majority of MPs are Remainers – were slinging ‘big words’ around, speaking as if in Capital Letters, and speaking of ‘their conscience’. That, it would seem, is paramount, not the will of those who sent them to Parliament to represent them.
So – to the voting. Firstly, the amendments by the SNP were voted down. Then the main vote, the historical vote to pass this Article-50-Bill:
498 MPs voted for this Bill, 114 against. “The Ayes have it – the Ayes have it” trumpeted Speaker Mr Bercow.
That, most importantly, is that, and Mrs May can now trigger Article 50.
There are some footnotes to be made by this observer: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is going to reshuffle his shadow cabinet because some of those members did not obey the three-line whip he had instituted to vote for the Bill. Ms Diane Abbott missed the vote, the most important vote for this country, because ‘she was ill’. On Social Media, a nice comparison was made: “Tory Rebels: 1/328 (0.03%) – Lib Dem Rebels: 2/9 (22.2%) – Remind me which party is divided on EU membership”. Most importantly for us in UKIP is the list of MPs who voted against the bill while their constituents voted to Leave. You can find the list here, scroll down a bit.
Those MPs standing in constituencies which have voted to Leave should be considered ‘targets’ by all UKIP members. from now on, we must attack them relentlessly in their constituencies because there will be by-elections, and there will be a General Election. We must remind the voters in those constituencies that their representatives have betrayed them.
Someone said that we will have to keep fighing for Brexit, the Brexit we voted for on June 23rd last year, until we are really OUT. The MPs on that list are the ones we must fight first and foremost, from here on in.
Let’s give them no quarter!