It’s the morning after and the morning before: yesterday saw the crushing defeat of Ms May’s WA in Parliament. For my sins I watched the whole thing, from the start with the theatrics of the attorney General Geoffrey Cox to the end with Mr Corbyn’s statement that he would call for a Vote of no Confidence today, and today we’ll watch the No Confidence debate and vote.
Observing the HoC in full flow and watching how a debate and the ensuing voting is done in the HoC always makes me proud of our parliamentary traditions. That alone is reason enough to leave the EU and never go back – you just have to watch how debating and voting is done there to see that the EU is not and never can be a democracy!
Today’s papers are full of the result. Frankly, I did not think the vote would be so crushing, especially not when tweets by political correspondents were floating about about rumours that there would be many Tory abstainers.
Today the No-Confidence Vote will be debated in the House and voted on. The general opinion is (see e.g. here) that Ms May will survive that because even the Tory Brexiteers and the DUP will support her, so calling it an ‘attempted power grab by opportunist Corbyn’ is perhaps a bit over-the-top.
Let’s start with Sir John Redwood’s comments, who writes in his Diary today:
“The predictable and large defeat of the PM’s main policy is unprecedented in my time in the Commons. I have seen governments forced into climb downs on unpopular policies, but never seen a PM put so much effort into defending a policy which united a large element of her own party with all the forces of opposition. It is difficult to fathom why she carried on with it. She knew the DUP would oppose, so that was the end of her majority.”
He very charitably suggests that:
“Maybe she decided she needed to show both the UK and the EU that the best Agreement on offer from the EU was completely unacceptable to Parliament and a clear majority of the people Parliament represents.”
“Either way, exiting without a dreadful deal is the right course to follow. The PM was correct to stress No Deal is better than a bad deal. Parliament has just rightly decided that was a very bad deal. Indeed it wasn’t a deal at all. It was a very expensive invitation to more prolonged talks about a possible deal.” (my bold)
The MSM here are now in full ‘blame-the-Leavers’ mode. Look at this significant video of an angry Ch4 reporter interviewing Jacob Rees-Mogg in The Express, where JRM makes a point which the whole Remain clique, from MPs to hacks to Blair’s “People’s Vote” supporters always happen to overlook:
“Jacob Rees-Mogg pointed out that a no-deal Brexit “cannot challenge the law” passed by Parliament, of leaving without a deal if a no deal was agreed. […] “Parliament passed with an overwhelming majority the Article 50 act to begin a two year process. It passed the withdrawal act, both of these in the knowledge that if no deal was agreed we would leave without a deal. An indicative vote cannot challenge the law which was passed by Parliament. The Government should respect the law,” (my bold).
Expect the Remainers to overlook this simple fact, and expect the MSM, the BBC first and foremost, to hone in, in their interviews of ‘the people’, on those who want a 2nd Referendum because everybody ‘has the right to change their minds’ – to give you a taste. watch the video in this report, with the misleading headline of ‘Leave voters condemning May’ while giving more air time to Remainers than Leavers.
The observations of the professional observers/commentators on yesterday’s result are interesting if predictable, e.g.
“What a waste of time that was. Five long, weary days of debate that absolutely everyone – including, surely, Theresa May herself – knew from the start would end in crushing defeat. In fact, they didn’t just know it five days ago; they knew it five weeks ago, when, for no good reason, the Prime Minister decided to delay it.”(Source)
In the end, they are neither here nor there, nor is it useful to tell those ‘professionals’ that they ought to’ve listened to us, out here, rather than swan around in their Westminster bubble. The few remarks which did catch my eyes are worth keeping in mind when pondering what Ms May will do next:
“The one thing Theresa May cannot say is “nothing has changed”.Her Withdrawal Agreement was beaten on Tuesday night in the Commons by 432 votes to 202, the biggest defeat since at least the 1920s. Ruin for the Prime Minister’s plan has in fact been predictable since the summer of last year: the stream of resignations from the Government ought to have been a clue. But Mrs May has a record of misreading the situation. She misread the voters in the 2017 election; she misread the EU; she misread her Cabinet at the Chequers summit; and it’s obvious that she has dramatically misread Parliament.” (Source),
“How the hell did we get here? Two and a half years ago, the country spoke. But it turned out there was one thing beyond the public’s influence. Their own elected representatives. Can a Parliament be in contempt of the people? Yes, and every wretched, wearisome drawn-out debate, denial and deceit that led up to the historic Common’s vote on Theresa May’s deal on Tuesday night has proved it. […[ The PM and Parliament have spent more than two years not listening to the people, and that’s why we find ourselves in this godawful mess.”
Contempt was not only shown by Parliament to us the people, but by the Tory grandees to the Tory Brexiteers. Asa Bennett in the DT observes that the Tory grandees must’ve known full well that defeat was on the cards as they brushed off the concerns of ERG members. It’s unclear what they will now do with Ms May. That she has lost even her loyal supporters in the Parliamentary Party is shown by this incident:
“Even senior Tories like Sir Graham Brady marched through the No lobby. If the Tory backbenchers’ tribune, the man who oversaw Mrs May’s successful confidence vote, wants to defeat the deal, that shows how badly she has misjudged the mood of her party colleagues.”
I agree that, to crown it all, Ms May has also disastrously misjudged the mood of the EU, from M Juncker down to M Barnier and his negotiators.
Of course, what we here and what the EU want to know is – what will happen next? Brussels and the continental MSM are baffled and puzzled. I’ll address this in another article later today.