Countdown to Brexit: 17 days – The UK’s dangerous ‘Brexit endgame’ strategy

Brexit has excited more interest and following of politics than any other subject in decades.

According to a ‘senior civil servant’ - who wished to remain unnamed - on the ‘Brexit-Central’ website: “Parliament, under this unprecedented level of scrutiny, has shocked citizens – and especially young voters – with MPs ‘self-interest’ trumping constituents’ concerns and dictate their voting patterns.” They continue: “Theresa May really is in a league of her own – for sheer incompetence in negotiation, stupidity in execution, mendacity, duplicity and stubborn adherence to failure, few can match her.”

The vote by Parliament to take control of tomorrow’s agenda (Wednesday 27 March) will lead to holding a series of ‘indicative votes’ – one of which is likely to a validation or otherwise of the Prime Minister’s deal.  The outcome is no less assured than it is under the Government’s leadership.

The Prime Minister lost two votes in Parliament on the ‘deal’ - reached after nearly two years negotiation with the EU.  The deal was written into a draft Treaty between the UK and EU defining the future relationship.  One concern for the future of the nation and democracy is the toll on reputation and respect that the public has for Parliament. 

Neither will politics ever be the same again within the House of Commons and the two-party system.  Last night’s events resulted in the resignation of a further three Ministers of State – and all the political and ministerial leadership experience that goes with them.  Since the June 2017 General Election, thirty-nine (39) Ministers have resigned from Theresa May’s Government.

The root cause – according to Brexit-Central – is that: “the Prime Minister’s flagship Brexit Withdrawal Agreement policy is dreadful.  MPs have voted down the deal, twice, by unprecedented majorities.  Rightly so.  Combined with a poorly defined framework for future negotiations – the Political Declaration - it is an expensive outcome for the UK – and there are years of painful wrangling with the EU on offer.  For the foreseeable future, Brussels will dictate the law and regulations for virtually every sector of UK life and economy.”

To their point - on no less than 108 occasions in Parliament, the Prime Minister promised to leave the EU on 29 March - with or without a deal.  Last week, the date of Brexit was arbitrarily moved by the European Union without any prior discussion - let alone the consent of - Parliament to 12 April – and, potentially, 22 May.  Membership - or otherwise - of the EU is not determined by the member nation, but by the European Union.

Brexiteers question whether the Prime Minister truly regrets having to extend Article 50 – given that the ‘no-deal’ vote was not binding on the Government - and there was no constitutional requirement to propose an extension.

Listen to the vox-pop feedback from ‘where are you going?’ on BBC Radio 5-Live.  The overwhelming feeling is a nation that has suffered ‘waterboarding’ by Westminster. 

Brexit uncertainty has cost and continues to cost Britain billions of pounds - in lost investment, in commerce and business moving out of the UK and into Europe in costs, and in preparations for Brexit – and especially no-deal contingency planning – in what history will judge as a ‘self-inflicted political crisis’.

The conspiracy theorists are increasingly vocal that the Prime Minister’s intention is, indeed, to avert Brexit.  They offer in evidence a briefing document issued by 10 Downing Street - reproduced in full, below - explaining just how the Government intends to keep the UK in the EU.

The feedback from Strasbourg and Brussels today is that patience with the UK is completely exhausted.

For a copy of the ‘official briefing letter for Government Ministers’ - leaked to and published on the Brexit-Central website as evidence of its views – contact: Readers can make up their own minds whether it reads as a document coming from a team looking for compromise and reconciliation – or from a team that is beyond the point of worrying what the public, business, UK and EU politicians think.   

For the record - the ‘Letwin’ amendment:

At the end of the Prime Minister’s statement – add: “and, given the need for the house to debate and vote on alternative ways forward, with a view to the government putting forward a plan for the house to debate and vote on, orders that –

(a) Standing order no. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting save as provided in that order) shall not apply on Wednesday 27 March;

(b) precedence on that day shall be given to a motion relating to the business of the house in connection with matters relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union other than any business of the house motion relating to the consideration by the house of a motion under Section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and then to motions relating to that withdrawal and the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union other than any motion moved under Section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;

(c) if more than one motion related to the business of the house is tabled, the speaker shall decide which motion shall have precedence;

d) the speaker shall interrupt proceedings on any business before the business of the house motion having precedence at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 27 March and call a member to move that motion;

(e) debate on that motion may continue until 3.00 pm on Wednesday 27 March at which time the speaker shall put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion including the questions on amendments selected by the speaker which may then be moved;

(f) when those proceedings have been concluded, the speaker shall call a member to move one of the other motions having precedence;

(g) any proceedings interrupted or superseded by this order or an order arising from the business of the house motion may be resumed or (as the case may be) entered upon and proceeded with after the moment of interruption on Wednesday 27 March.”

The result is that MPs will be able to vote on a series of options - likely to include a "softer Brexit" and another referendum - designed to test the will of Parliament to see what, if anything, commands a majority.  The Prime Minister said she was "sceptical" about the process, known as "indicative" votes, and would not commit the government to abiding by the MPs' decision.


John ShuttleworthComment