I hope you’ve got over the shock of getting out of bed an hour earlier as the clocks went forward today because here’s another shock for you: we’re now into Mickey-Mouse-Politics (apologies to Mickey Mouse) …
For starters, in the MSM today we’re treated to the unedifying spectacle of Tory MPs ‘laying out their stall’ for an expected election as PM since it’s looking more probable that Ms May’s demise is imminent – not that I associate ‘imminence’ with Ms May.
They all want ‘it’, from pretty Liz Truss to BoJo and Raab, from Hunt and Javid to some totally unknowns. We should care because of the threat of a snap GE under a ‘new’ Tory PM – never mind that many pundits and indeed Tory MPs are adamant that such GE now would be the death of the Tory Party, see eg here (paywalled):
“A series of ministers and MPs have told The Telegraph the party would be “annihilated” at the polls if the Prime Minister insisted on fighting a campaign to face down Parliament over Brexit in the coming months.”
Labour and Corbyn find themselves in similar circumstances even though the MSM are generally more reticent about reporting on inner-Labour turmoil. So this warning is interesting:
“A leading Labour MP said a soft Brexit was also a headache for Corbyn. John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw, today warns the Labour leader that the working class will turn its back on the party after ignoring their support for Brexit.” (paywalled link)
Meanwhile, the Tories are doing what they do best: sticking knives into each others’ backs. We’re now told that Ms May wants to delay any leadership contest until after the Tory AGM in October so as to prevent BoJo to take over (here) because he might benefit from a ‘Brexit Bounce’ – whatever that is supposed to mean!
In a belt-and-braces approach, “sources” are also blaming both BoJo and Dominic Raab for the DUP not voting for May’s WA on Friday. Note well that JRM isn’t mentioned – he’s not a contender for the PM job, after all. The reason the ‘sources’ give is that the DUP ‘doesn’t trust them’ (here and here, paywalled):
“A cabinet minister sought to blame Johnson and Raab after both had met senior members of the DUP in recent weeks. The May ally said: “The DUP interviewed Boris and Raab and decided they were not really unionists. That’s why they withheld their support for the deal.” Another source said the Unionists were spooked when Johnson failed to assure them that he would strive to maintain regulatory alignment between Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit.”
You couldn’t make it up: in one fell swoop that ‘cabinet minister’ and that ‘other source’ not only knifed two contenders, he/she/it (mustn’t assume their gender!) also discredits the DUP’s principled stand. Well done!
There’s another, more sinister, piece of briefing against Raab:
“Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary — who is vying with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to be the main Eurosceptic contender for No 10 — broke cover to say that “false claims” were circulating about him. His allies accused the Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins’s team of circulating claims Raab was rude to officials.” (paywalled link)
This shows that the Whitehell Mandarins, not content with demolishing Brexit, are apparently briefing en coulisse to influence the decision of the Tories as to whom to select as new leader.
It doesn’t take the brainpower of an Einstein to see that a true Brexiteer as leader would most definitely not be to their liking. It also emphasises the pernicious role the Whitehell civil serpents are playing in steering our, the voters’, political decisions, just as they’ve done with Brexit.
Back to the HoC and what might happen next. Tomorrow, Oliver Letwin, aided and abetted by the Speaker, will introduce a few amendments, slightly changed from those voted down last Wednesday. The one with the most chance of getting through will be one calling for us to remain in the Customs Union.
Then Ms May will introduce “something” on Tuesday. That could either be a fourth vote for her WA, perhaps in the form of a Second Reading of that WA Bill, or a vote on a Statutory Instrument to ‘reinstate the upcoming EU Parliamentary election’ because that would allegedly ‘concentrate ERG ‘rebels’ minds to vote for her WA …
In a final piece of informed speculation, we’re told:
“If May is defeated again, it is likely she will make the decision on Tuesday night on whether to call a general election or risk being forced by parliament to negotiate a softer Brexit. […] If she does not call an election, May could quit, or risk splitting the Conservative Party by agreeing to return to Brussels to hammer out a deal.” (paywalled source)
Well – she ‘could’ – but will she?
There is another item which could spike the wheels of the May Brexit-Betrayal juggernaut:
“Two leading constitutional experts have warned that the government has the right to ask the Queen to refuse to give royal assent to any bill forced on the government by backbenchers. A paper passed to No 10 yesterday warns that attempts by backbenchers to seize power from the government will “provoke damaging institutional conflict” and “may prompt the government to respond with countermeasures”. […] “The process of royal assent has become a formality, but if legislation would otherwise be passed by an abuse of constitutional process . . . the government might plausibly decide to advise Her Majesty not to assent to the bill” …(paywalled link)
Hm. But will she, will they, listen, never mind act on this advice?
Here’s another looming spectre: another Minister (who he/she/it? Can we be told?) accused remainers …
“ … of “the ultimate act of betrayal” for seeking to push the country towards a customs union. “What they are doing is an absolute betrayal of the referendum result and of this country. I cannot understand how any of them can describe a customs union as any kind of Brexit. You may as well revoke article 50.” […] However, May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, and deputy, David Lidington, are pressing for a soft Brexit deal and a growing number of Conservative MPs are set to back a new referendum.” (paywalled link)
Next, Cabinet ministers, being in it for themselves, are now twisting their personal knives in Ms May’s back, with the usual threats of resignation:
“In an emergency conference call last night Brexiteer cabinet ministers agreed they would resign if May accepted a customs union or got Tory MPs to vote for the UK to take part in European elections in May. They will deliver their threat when the prime minister consults her cabinet today. More than half her Commons party, 170 MPs and ministers, have signed a letter telling May to pursue a no-deal departure from the EU rather than accept a soft Brexit. […] But May will face resignations from at least six cabinet ministers on the party’s remain wing if she backs no-deal. (paywalled link)
Does anyone in the cabinet actually know what they want? Customs Union – no Customs Union – revoke Article 50 – another referendum – No Deal?
Btw – why the heck are they so adamantly against No Deal? Why don’t they tell us their reasons, rather than wrangle about who gets to be PM?
I leave you with news that two Tory MPs penned articles for the DT – paywalled, sadly. One is JRM (here), one is Steve Baker (here). I understand that you can read the comments underneath even if you’ve not paid the ‘Premium’. JRM is getting stick from irate readers for his betrayal while the comments for Steve Baker are nearly unanimously praising him.
To me, that indicates something politicians better not disregard: voters have had enough of spin, obfuscation and dazzling B.S. They want a principled politician as leader, someone who will not sell out this country for a bowl of pottage just because the EU and Whitehell tell him to …