Now Tory rebels must listen to the people
HAVING decamped to their constituencies after a tumultuous week inside the Westminster bubble, Tory MPs have one last opportunity this weekend to talk to some real people before Tuesday’s vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
In case they need reminding, these are the people they’re paid to represent – people whose lives, families, jobs and incomes will be profoundly affected by how (or indeed if) we leave the EU.
An orderly departure would prompt an immediate economic upturn and provide the promise of future prosperity. A disorderly one threatens chaos, uncertainty and slump.
So as they press the flesh at Christmas fetes and gaily turn on festive lights, the Honourable Members should listen carefully to what their constituents have to say.
And the way they vote on Tuesday should be driven by concern for the welfare of those real people – not by some misty-eyed, ideological fantasy of a perfect Brexit.
For the Mail has this message for those MPs who believe there may be a better withdrawal deal available: There isn’t!
Despite their constant bluster, the hard Brexiteers have no real alternative, beyond a Gadarene rush towards no- deal. As countless business leaders have told us, that would bring a whole new world of economic pain.
Meanwhile, Remainers want to ignore the referendum result and send us crawling back to Brussels with our tail between our legs. That would be a national humiliation. And an affront to democracy.
The truth is that ordinary voters are sick and tired of this Parliamentary Punch and Judy show. They hunger for grown-up compromise and certainty, so they can get on with their lives in peace.
As evidence of this, opinion polls show a growing momentum behind Mrs May’s deal, very little appetite for a second referendum and an absolute horror of no deal.
Remarkably, the statistics also demonstrate that for all her travails, the Prime Minister’s satisfaction ratings continue to be strong – and not just among Conservatives.
In an Ipsos Mori poll yesterday, two thirds of Tory voters said they thought she was doing a good job (up from 57 per cent two months ago).
Indeed, this was considerably ahead of the 49 per cent satisfaction rating Jeremy Corbyn had among his own party supporters.
This is a tribute to Mrs May’s resilience and broad appeal. If she can achieve this kind of popularity while dozens of her own MPs are working to undermine her, imagine what heights she could scale if they all united behind her. And to those who wish to unseat her, we ask this question: Who do you think would do a better job? Whether Leaver or Remainer, any successor would still be faced with the same agonising Brexit migraine, the same hung Parliament and the same fractious, divided party.
The Prime Minister is trying to spread balm on Tory wounds. Some of the pretenders to her crown would prefer to dose them with salt.
True, the May plan is far from perfect. But it does fulfil most of the principal Brexit criteria. And crucially, it’s the only coherent proposal on the table.
So before rejecting it, the rebels must face up to brutal reality. As we have said before, it’s either Mrs May’s deal, no-deal, or no Brexit.
And of course, they are running the ultimate risk – that by bringing Mrs May down they could hasten a Labour/SNP government, which would wreak untold damage on this country.
Dissident Tory MPs should ask their constituents what they think of that grotesque prospect.