To some, the events of the last few days have been an affront to democracy. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow seemingly choosing to overule centuries of Parliamentary protocol by allowing Dominic Grieve’s amendment to be heard has seen some Parliamentarians having palpatations at the gall.
This amendment now sees the Government required to return to Parliament with a Plan B in 3 days rather than the previous 21 day window should Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement be voted down in Parliament. Which let’s be honest here, it will be embarassingly so.
There are many reasons why MP’s will not vote for this worst of all worlds proposal, not least of all that it is a complete dog’s dinner, which will see the UK in a far worse situation with the EU than if we had just remained with our current membership status as it was. So much for the pledge to take back control which for many was the whole point of voting to leave the EU in the first place.
Therefore, on all known reality this agreement is just waiting for the inevitable and to be put out of it’s misery. Yet despite this, Theresa May will continue pushing it as the only available option left to avoid a No Deal Brexit because frankly it actually is, but perversely this amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve now makes that situation even more likely than before not less.
Previously the Government had 21 days to return to Parliament with a Plan B but now they have only 3 days in order to do so. The EU27 have adamantly stated throughout this whole process that there can be no more negotiation and that the deal is the deal and the only deal available. Yet we all know that when push comes to shove, especially where £39billion is at stake, there was previously an outside hope that within the existing 21 day period, the Government would have time to cajole, persuade, plead and beg for further concessions to the satisfactory agreement of all EU27 countries. Now Theresa May has only 3 days with which to do so. An improbable task now made totally impossible. If it wasn’t going to be possible before, then this amendment has just removed even the glimmer of possibility of a renegotiation as the EU27 couldn’t agree to who wants tea or coffee in 3 days never mind a reworked UK withdrawal agreement.
Plan B can only be that we leave under the already agreed scenario of a No Deal Brexit as that is what has been agreed by Parliament, the Government, the Lords and by the Queen herself through the Act of Parliament.
The opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, has openly stated that should Mrs May’s deal be rejected by Parliament, that he will then, when the moment is right and he feels that it has the best chance of success call for a vote of No Confidence in the Government in an attempt to force a General election. He may well achieve this and yet here is the thing.
In order to win the vote of No Confidence in Mrs May’s Government, many of her own Remain MP’s will have to vote with the opposition. Conservative Association’s up and down the nation would never forgive such treachery should this happen and any MP who did so would face a deselection challenge for daring to risk a Socialist Government.
Yet, here is the kicker and it is the ace up the sleeve of Theresa May, as the pieces of the Brexit mousetrap have just very conveniently fallen into her lap and I cannot see her not using this to her advantage being the hardened political animal that she is. Having already publicly stated that she will not remain as Tory leader to fight the next General Election, knowing full well that she has no election appeal amongst the public at large, despite doing her utmost to fulfill the near impossible task which she inherited by respecting the wishes of the public and the Referendum result
She will never fondly be remembered as another Conservative Iron Lady but she could very well yet be remembered as their first Lion Lady, who was willing to put her Country and its Democracy before that of her own political career and the political games of Parliament itself. As under the terms of the Fixed Parliament Act, it is incumbent on the Government in the event of a vote of no confidence to fix the date for the next General Election.
What odds that she fixes that date post the 29th March 2019 by which time we would already have left the European Union? Parliament and the Remain campaign cannot stop this, it is already enshrined in law with their agreement
By doing this, she would not only meet her primary obligation and objective when first assuming the Office of Prime Minister to see that the wishes of the people and their instruction to Parliament was respected. As we will leave the European Union on the 29th March 2019, deal or no deal under the agreed legal terms of the EU Withdrawal Act and she is well aware that there are only two ways in which this can be achieved. Either through her negotiated Withdrawal Agreement or by the default option of No Deal. Once her Withdrawal Agreement is rejected, then there can only be one way to satisfy the result of the Referendum and she has doggedly shown a resilience throughout to see that achieved.
This No Deal departure cannot be changed by any amendment tabled by the opposition or Remain MP’s, it can only be changed through Primary legislation, which itself has to be proposed by the Government and that is simply not going to happen under Theresa May’s leadership as to do so would see the Referendum result overuled, her own party not only split but electorally destroyed forever and her legacy would be set as the Leader who not only oversaw the death of the Tory party but also Democracy in the UK.
Therefore, I can only conclude that she will lose the Parliamentary vote on her Withdrawal Agreement and that because of the Dominic Grieve amendment will have no time in the 3 day period to present a viable, agreed Plan B signed off by the EU27 to present to Parliament.
Instead Plan B can realistically be nothing else but leave under a No Deal scenario and she will fight, as is her nature to ensure this happens to honour the result of the Referendum.
Mr Corbyn will then table his motion of No Confidence and enough rebellious Tory MP’s will vote for the proposal in a last roll of the dice to prevent a No Deal departure but it will be to no avail as the Prime Minister herself will decide the date for the next General Election and it is my prediction that she will set it for after we leave the EU on the 29th March 2019.
Thus satisfying the demands of Referendum result and crucially allowing the next leader of the Conservatives to claim moral authority during the ensuing General Election campaign over Jeremy Corbyn and the opposition, who will have just demonstrated that their willingness to attain power far exceeds their wish to respect the democratic wishes of the electorate.
Even Diane Abbott could calculate the probable electoral result of this.
In doing so, Theresa May would ensure that the Tory Party and our Democracy survives. The EU Referendum result is upheld and delivered. The opposition are exposed for the self-interested opportunists that they are. The Tory MP’s who backed Corbyn are deselected but crucially and probably for her the most sarisfactory of all, the Brexit Mousetrap has been sprung and she can then retire to the House of Lords, with her head held high as a Champion of Democracy.
Not so much the Iron Lady but the Lion Lady, who put her Country and the democratic wishes of it’s people first and in the process cemented her place in history, whilst conveniently destroying the Socialist threat of Corbyn and his cronies in the process.
Donald Trump once said that Theresa May was a tough negotiator and a very astute, effective politician. As Brexiteers we can only hope that at long last, the Lion Lady is about to roar.