11 Dec vote may be de­ci­sive for Brexit

Mervyn King called for the deal to be aban­doned be­cause of its fa­tal eco­nomic weak­nesses.

The Sunday Guardian - - World -

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.

Theresa May

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