Here We Go

And so, one of the most important weeks in British politics begins as I’m sure it will continue – a total lack of a clear plan, bitching and in-fighting from both sides of the House, and Theresa May looking ever more like a dead duck, bobbing away in the lake of democracy.

Also, the lake is on fire.

Happy Monday everyone! This is going to hurt.


Over the weekend, negotiators from the UK and the EU kept thrashing away at the backstop, trying desperately to find a compromise that would mean that May’s deal gets passed tomorrow, Tuesday the 12th of March.

  • Sources close to negotiations say that while there were signs of progress, it remained highly unlikely that any changes made would be significant enough to change the hearts and minds of those who voted against it. Indeed, Downing Street has said this morning that talks are “at gridlock.”
    • Without a massive number of changed minds, May’s deal looks set to lose dramatically again.

    • If (lol, when) this happens, she will hold a vote on Wednesday about whether or not MPs want a no-deal Brexit. If no, as expected, on Thursday she will hold a vote asking whether or not she should ask for an extension to Article 50, delaying Brexit.

  • However, reports today suggest that she might not even hold the vote tomorrow if there are no breakthroughs in the negotiations.
    • Another massive margin of defeat would be highly damaging to May’s political clout. Whatever’s left of a pretty feeble amount to start with.

  • If she does decide to do this, she will instead table a motion setting out terms on how to deal with the backstop that Parliament could get behind and vote in favour of.
    • If so, she could take that vote to the EU to demonstrate what Parliament wants, strengthening her hand. Although it is strengthening her hand while the EU plays Poker and she plays Uno.

Singing in Disharmony

  • Other prominent Tories are saying that they would vote for the deal if Theresa May promised that she would resign as soon as her deal passed.
    • Given May’s track record of resolutely failing to fall on her sword, however, it seems unlikely that she would concede this.

  • Michael Gove, the environment secretary, encourages his peers to vote for May’s deal, writing in the Daily Mail that, “Everyone who believes in democracy should support it.”

  • Boris Johnson, however, has written in The Daily Telegraph that his peers shouldn’t vote for the deal and “do nothing further to weaken the UK’s position.”

Good to see our ruling Party sticking to what it knows – slowly and excruciatingly ripping itself in two like a suicidal slug.

Biding Their Time

Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, has said that Labour would not table their amendment for a People’s Vote this week.

  • For those who want a second referendum this is good news, counterintuitively.
    • It is unlikely that there is currently enough support in Parliament for a second public vote, but this will likely change as other options begin to fall away.
    • Assuming that Article 50 will be extended, saving a second referendum as a last resort is probably the best strategy to see it come to fruition.

So while this week will be absolutely crucial in defining what comes next for Brexit, it has at least started off in the same way as it has rumbled on for weeks and weeks – smashing-face-into-wall levels of frustration.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I will be sending out Inbox Insights to go into more detail about the previous evening’s votes and what they mean. Inbox Insights are short, concise emails that give you all the info you need to know straight to your inbox, just in time for lunch.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please sign up here.


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Only 18 sleeps to go!

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