11 Dec vote may be decisive for Brexit
Mervyn King called for the deal to be abandoned because of its fatal economic weaknesses.
Theresa May is stubbornly clinging on to her unpopular EU Withdrawal deal. For the first time in British history, the government was found to be in “Contempt of Parliament” by a majority of 18, for not publishing the full Brexit evidence and advice from the Attorney General (AG). This refers to the Northern Ireland Border Backstop, that if effected could see UK indefinitely committed to EU customs rules Geoffrey Cox, the AG, said, “There is therefore no unilateral right for either party to terminate this arrangement.” And this is precisely what 450 Labour, SNP, DUP and Tory MPs were afraid of.
The former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King called for the deal to be abandoned because of its fatal economic weaknesses.
Nationwide tours and briefings by the PM and her team have done little to reconcile citizens with her deal. Tory Associations and MPs have been deluged with support for a decisive Brexit, not the half-baked semi-Withdrawal on offer. But the government continues with its campaign of fear, threatening No Deal will bring economic chaos, or to extend the transition period to beyond 2020 prolonging the agony and autonomy of EU membership. Brussels wishes that UK would extend or withdraw Article 50. (No Deal becomes increasing appealing as it implements WTO rules, which as Tony Abbott, former Australian Prime Minister, points out, works perfectly well.)
Backbench MPs have made an amendment should the vote in Parliament on Tuesday, 11 December, fail. This session is now called the “meaningful vote”. MPs could suggest to the Prime Minister what to do next— for example, go back to Brussels and re-negotiate. A fur- ther appeasement has been added, affording Parliament a review of the Northern Ireland arrangements in March 2020. Neither of the above is legally binding and the review is not enforceable in international law, nor does it give the UK the right to withdraw unilaterally. As a final betrayal of democracy, it was revealed that the No. 10 team was entertaining the idea of a second referendum or an even more wishywashy Withdrawal, if the meaningful vote on the May Deal fails to pass.
Theresa May made an acceptable speech about Brexit at Lancaster House in 2017; even her political opposition within the Tory party bought into it. Two years later her political capital and advantage is spent, time, budgets and careers have been wasted, trust in government and international credibility diminished. The odds are against her deal being passed.
In a telling interview, Boris Johnson condemned the Backstop as a convenient device that allows the PM and Businesses (Remainers) to promote staying in the EU. Johnson calls for the great British traits of imagination and gumption, both of which he has in spades. The Prime Minister has lost Ministers and MPs over her idea of Brexit; these resignations would not have been given carelessly. 11 December’s vote is being called a 1939 moment: when push comes to shove, MPs will vote with their conscience about what is best for Britain.