PROUD OF YOURSELVES?
Just as the newly confident Tories inch ahead in the polls ,11 self-consumed m al contents pull the rug from under our EU negotiators, bet ray their leader, party and 17.4m Brexit voters and—most damning of all—increase the possibility of a Marxist in No
DIEHARD Tory Remainers were accused of treachery last night after siding with Labour to defeat Theresa May over Brexit. Amid angry scenes in the Commons, MPs voted by 309 votes to 305 to force through a change in the law that will give them a veto on the final deal negotiated by the Prime Minister.
Labour MPs punched the air and cheered as the result was read out, while the smirking Tory rebels looked on. Eleven Conservative MPs, led by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, voted with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in favour of a rebel amendment designed to ensure a
‘meaningful vote’ on the withdrawal deal. It was the Prime Minister’s first significant Commons defeat.
In a provocative intervention, Nicky Morgan – who was sacked as a minister by Mrs May last year – boasted: ‘Tonight, Parliament took control of the EU withdrawal process.’
Meanwhile, several of the Tory rebels retired to a Commons bar to toast their ‘victory’ with champagne and white wine. Their rebellion came just as the Tories had moved ahead in the opinion polls for the first time since June’s snap election, following Mrs May’s success in Brexit talks with the EU.
The Prime Minister had been widely hailed for securing an agreement to move to trade talks and Tory party whips had warned the rebels not to give her a ‘bloody nose’ just as she prepared for a key Brussels summit today, where she hopes to persuade EU leaders to sign off on the deal.
Mrs May also personally appealed to rebels to back down yesterday, meeting many of them for one-to-one talks and warning them they were jeopardising the chances of a ‘smooth Brexit’.
The Government even made several concessions, but to no avail.
Last night, Government sources tried to play down the significance of the vote and hinted they could try to
‘They should be de-selected’ ‘They’ve given Corbyn a victory’
overturn it at a later stage. But a furious Mrs May quickly sacked former minister Stephen Hammond from his role as Tory vice- chairman after he sided with the rebels.
Ministers are braced for further trouble next week when rebel MPs are threatening to vote down plans to fix the date of Britain’s exit from the EU in law as March 29, 2019.
Mr Grieve yesterday said there were ‘no circumstances’ in which he would support the plan.
In a gloating statement, Jeremy Corbyn hailed ‘a humiliating loss of authority for the Government on the eve of the European Council meeting’. Some Labour MPs even sang the socialist anthem The Red Flag in the division lobbies.
Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Adonis, a close ally of Tony Blair, described the vote as ‘the first step towards the defeat of Brexit’.
Tory MP Nigel Evans said the rebels had handed a propaganda victory to Labour in a misguided attempt to stop Brexit. He added: ‘There is a small hardcore of people on our side who have never accepted the referendum result and want to thwart it.
‘ I hate to use the word treachery but I don’t know what satisfaction they got from being cheered by Labour – they have given Jeremy Corbyn a victory.’
Fellow Tory Nadine Dorries said: ‘Tonight, the Tory rebels have put a spring in Labour’s step, given them a taste of winning, guaranteed the party a weekend of bad press, undermined the PM and devalued her impact in Brussels.
‘They should be de-selected and never allowed to stand as a Tory MP, ever again.’ Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith insisted the defeat would not derail Brexit, but condemned the conduct of rebel MPs.
‘It is very disappointing that they chose to side with Labour as the Prime Minister is preparing to go to Brussels for vital talks,’ he said.
‘I am sorry they have chosen to do this to their own Prime Minister. I hope they looked at the spectacle of Labour MPs cheering and realised what they have done.’
Mr Grieve angrily denied he was a ‘traitor’. He said talks with the Government on a compromise had ‘run out of road’, leaving him no choice but to press ahead with his amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
The former minister, who once described Brexit as ‘an historic mistake’, even likened himself to Winston Churchill, claiming he was ‘ putting country before party’. He was joined by ten other Tory rebels: Mr Hammond, former ministers Miss Morgan, Kenneth Clarke, Anna Soubry, Bob Neill, Jonathan Djanogly and Sir Oliver Heald, and backbenchers Heidi Allen, Antoinette Sandbach and Sarah Wollaston.
Several other potential rebels abstained after the Government offered a lastminute concession, saying they would bring forward similar proposals at a later stage.
Labour whips also helped achieve the Government defeat by squeezing Eurosceptic MPs on their own side. In the event, only former ministers Kate Hoey and Frank Field voted with the Government.
The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted last night: ‘British Parliament takes back control. A good day for democracy.’ By handing Parliament a veto, the rebels have raised the prospect that MPs could vote down the deal next year, plunging Brexit and the country into chaos.
Former Tory Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin said it was clear the rebels wanted ‘the ability to derail Brexit’.
He added: ‘It is a matter of logical fact that the only alternative to a deal you don’t like or no deal is to leave the whole matter aside and not leave the EU. If the deal is rejected but the Government is told you cannot leave without a deal, then it cannot leave.’
Fellow Tory Philip Davies said it was clear the mutineers were trying to overturn the referendum result. He added: ‘The problem with (Mr Grieve’s) amendment is it could be, and no doubt is designed to be, used to try to overturn and frustrate that meaningful vote. It’s a shame he hasn’t got the courage of his convictions to admit that that’s what his game is.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘This amendment does not prevent us from preparing our statute book for exit day.’
AS more details of Jean-Claude Juncker’s murky past emerge, this paper has a question for Remoaners who speak of the EU as an earthly paradise embracing the highest principles of liberal civilisation.
How can any who call themselves democrats approve of a system that puts a man such as this – unelected, unaccountable and all but impossible to remove (except perhaps in a prison van) – in charge of the destinies of more than 500million people?
Indeed, the allegations that as prime minister of Luxembourg, Mr Juncker may have been complicit in a criminal cover-up of illegal wiretapping are only the latest to call into question his fitness for office.
We all know the European Commission president has a liking for the bottle. He is also on record declaring it can be necessary to lie to the public over the EU’s dealings.
Those who have followed his career know, too, that during his 18 years as prime minister, he ran the tiny Grand Duchy (population, 550,000 – about the size of Sheffield) as a personal fiefdom, keeping secret files on its citizens while presiding over epic tax-dodging and corruption.
As for his thoughts on democracy, he has made these clear by repeatedly ignoring popular votes. Yet this is a man who claims to embody the European dream.
Look at his empire today: Mass youth unemployment throughout southern Europe; endemic waste and corruption; huge tensions over the migrant crisis; a resurgent far Right – and all run by a sclerotic bureaucracy, led by a bibulous small-time politician with a contempt for democracy and a highly dodgy past.
Isn’t it increasingly baffling what liberal Left Remoaners see in the EU? THIS paper congratulates Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman on speaking the truth that the divisive doctrine of multiculturalism can stand in the way of preparing children for life in modern Britain. As she points out, the Rotherham sex abuse case – hushed up by politically correct officials who feared being branded racist – was a warning of what can happen when ‘ cultural tensions become undiscussable’. With hundreds of young Britons joining the fanatics of IS, is it too much to hope that firm action will now be taken against schools that teach children to hate our country and way of life?