Charlie Mullins on why he thinks the Speaker of the House of Commons was right to block Theresa May’s third Brexit deal and why the ball is now on the EU’s court.
Just like a couple of weeks ago when it took the formation of The Independent Group (TIG) to get both main parties to change their stances to unblock Brexit, albeit ever so slightly, yesterday’s drastic intervention by speaker John Bercow has broadsided Theresa May’s cynical time-wasting tactic.
Number 10 might loudly complain that by banning a third vote of the Prime Minister’s twice defeated Brexit deal the speaker is pandering to the interests of those who would like to frustrate the UK’s departure from the EU. But that’s not even a view that an arch-Brexiteer like John Redwood accepts. In fact, he believes that stopping a third vote makes a No-Deal Brexit all the more likely.
So, which is it?
All that speaker Bercow has done is blocked the PM from once again playing for time. Be under no illusions, yesterday’s unexpected intervention has done democracy a favour in an ongoing assault by the executive against the legislative branch of our system of government.
The truth is that Theresa May doesn’t have the numbers, and wasn’t going to bring her bill back if she couldn’t win. Don’t take my word for it, that’s what she said last week.
So, all yesterday’s ruling has done is stop the PM from pretending to hold a vote this week, before pulling it at the last minute, in a cynical, near-criminal attempt to push a vote into the week that ends with Brexit suicide day.
Mrs May has calculated, quite correctly in my view, that if she gets into the final week, a parliament that has already shown that it fears a No-Deal above all else, will take any escape route it is offered, possibly even her universally hated deal.
The game is not over and everybody with a dog in the fight knows it. A second referendum probably became slightly more likely yesterday, and the weekend’s march just grew in numbers. But it looks like Brexit is going to the wire, so we need one more intervention if it is to be torpedoed, and that needs to come from Europe, in the form of a long extension offer.
Of course, if all else fails, parliament can force Theresa May to unilaterally cancel Article 50, and even if such a bill has a provision for the new, most likely acting PM, to re-trigger Brexit the following day, we have the power to grant ourselves a two-year extension.🔷
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)