(Image courtesy of John Hart – for more, go here)
Humiliated again by the EU, thanks to their doormat, our PM Ms May! How long must we bear this? How long must we bear Remainers in Whitehall and Parliament destroying Brexit?
Let’s summarise what happened yesterday: Ms May went to Brussels to submit her plea for an extension to Article 50. Shortly before 5pm, this draft agreement was released:
“The draft conclusions of the summit, below, confirm that the EU will allow a short extension if the deal passes the Commons.: The European Council commits to agreeing to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week.” (link, paywalled)
… and immediately all hell broke lose! Twitter went into overdrive thanks to ‘Brussels correspondents’ because suddenly the EU members were called back in, doors were closed and the draft was shredded. It took the EU another five hours (!) before, shortly after 10pm, the actual agreement had been worked out:
“If the Commons passes the Brexit deal next week, Brexit is delayed until May 22. If the deal falls, again, which is likely, then the EU grants an extension until April 12, at which point the UK needs to indicate what it plans to do next.” (link, paywalled)
The inevitable press statements followed – you can read Ms May’s statement here, if you really really want to – with more snide remarks from Mr Tusk and this interpretation:
“After nearly seven hours of wrangling the 27 leaders agreed to give Mrs May an unconditional extension until April 12 to “indicate a way forward”. If her deal is passed, Brussels will give the government until May 22 to pass the legislation that would implement Brexit. If the deal is not agreed by the April deadline, however, Britain will be forced to choose between a no-deal Brexit or agreeing to hold European elections in return for a longer extension to the Article 50 process.The UK government will still have a choice of a deal, no-deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said. (paywalled link)
The EU attitude to Brexit has therefore not changed at all! Also interestingly, the EU apparently recognised that Ms Mays’ days may be numbered:
“An aide to a European leader said that the unconditional extension until April gave the EU and Britain time to deal with the potential resignation of Mrs May if she loses a third meaningful vote. “Instead of three days until March 29 to deal with her resignation we have 15 days to prepare,” he said.”(paywalled link)
That Twitter ‘storm’ was caused by our ‘Brussels Correspondents’ and hacks who were twitching like sprinters in their starting blocks after false starts and more false starts. They inadvertently showed us that the mighty EU, presented as monolithic bloc during the years of negotiation, are in fact a conglomeration of horsetraders – no disrespect to actual horsetraders!
The EU grandees are as much driven by Project Fear ‘predictions’ as our Remain establishment. M Macron fought in the frontline while others wanted to allow Ms May her delay until June 30th. Sadly, there are those dratted EU Parliamentary elections coming up, thus the weird dates – April 12th, May 22nd – in the final EU Agreement.
The Brexit wrangle yesterday was breathtaking: the twitter meltdown, the fear amongst Remainer MPs who bemoaned the fact that ordinary voters don’t like them and ‘harass’ them, that luvvies’ ‘Petition’ – read all about it here – which had crashed the Petitions site earlier but was, within hours, again up with 2 million (!) signatures. Never mind that votes came from as far away as North Korea, nor that even Adolf Hitler signed it – Hugh Grant has spoken, and that’s that … Frankly, it’s like running in a hamster wheel!
So now what? Shenanigans in the HoC for certain! Be prepared for more blame and exhortations coming from No 10 (see e.g.here).
The inevitable Sir John Redwood wrote last night:
“The government should not try to delay an answer until 12 April. It would require difficult Parliamentary processes for no obvious gain. Why would MPs vote for the Agreement after March 29 when they have not been willing to vote for it before March 29?” (here)
Just so! And in the diary entry early this morning, he describes the situation in a nutshell:
“The government is proceeding as if there will be a third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on Monday. They will of course need to persuade the Speaker that something meaningful has changed from the previous version they put to the Commons, which lost by 149 votes. The government approach to get MPs to vote for the Agreement depends on which MP they are talking to. Leave supporting MPs I hear are told there will be a long delay to Brexit or no Brexit if they do not vote for the Agreement. Remain voting MPs are told there would be a no deal Brexit on 29 March. As all this has appeared in the press, the two sides can see that at least one side is not getting the truth. The danger for the government is both sides may choose not to believe the government, knowing it faces different ways. (here)
Keep this analysis in mind when we go into next week, and when you ponder the following interesting information.
The usually so leak-prone Tory MPs have been quietly putting the thumbscrews on Ms May during this week, en coulisse, with nothing coming out. Now, faced with another farce of a MVIII (will the Speaker even allow it?) we suddenly hear that her days could be numbered – just as that EU aide (see above) surmised:
“Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs, visited the Prime Minister in Downing Street on Monday afternoon and made clear that a growing number of Tories believe she has to go. […] The Prime Minister is facing a mounting backlash from both Eurosceptic and Remain ministers amid stark warnings from Cabinet ministers that her Premiership could be over within a week.” (paywalled link)
The outlook for Brexit in the next days and perhaps weeks is therefore stormy. With so many players, from the EU ‘grandees’ all the way down to our luvvies being frightened silly by the prospect of a ‘No Deal’, expect more ‘exciting’ shenanigans in the HoC. Meanwhile the LML March proceeds towards Parliament Square on the 29th of March, and there’s another lot of Brexiteers getting ready to roll – check this out!
We Brexit foot soldiers must keep doing what we’re doing. The Remainers are on the run. Tell your MP that he or she has seen nothing yet if they vote to destroy Brexit, and that they assuredly should not want to evoke the ire of the people of Britain who will most assuredly speak!