After having spent two and a half years at the helm, with the sole responsibility of delivering the the wishes of the people according to the referendum result, Theresa May failed. Her wretched deal that was once known as her Chequers plan, was rightfully labelled the ‘betrayal deal’ by majority around the electorate. Voted down by a staggering 230 votes in the Commons it became the largest government defeat in our nation’s political history. It was no surprise to anybody in the Tory Party nor the country at large. The deal does not deliver the three fundamental elements of what the leave vote demanded. Leaving the Customs Union, the Single Market and no longer being under ECJ. It was total abject capitulation and surrender of the nation.
Let’s be mightily clear, the reason why we have come to this point is because Theresa May does not believe in Brexit. Despite what she says, she has never really supported the will of the people to leave the EU. She has surrounded herself with her fellow Wets, those that would sooner stand bolt upright to Ode to joy than to God Save the Queen. Olly Robbins, a civil servant who was a self-confessed europhile in his university years, leads the negotiations. Thus, negating the position and will of an elected member of the Cabinet which is why both Davis and Raab – who are well known to be mild mannered – resigned as Secretaries of State for Brexit. She stuffed her Cabinet full of Remain MPs which purposefully gave her majority support against Leavers. Right from the beginning her negotiation was an attempt to get a Brexit deal that would mean leaving in all but name.
When Theresa May agreed to the backstop in December 2017, I read the legal text and saw this slow train wreck forming. Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson had a peculiar ‘wait and see’ attitude at the time. However, the legal text explicitly defines that either the UK break up and severe Northern Ireland from it’s kingdom, or stay in the EU. The Customs Union would continue in Northern Ireland, and thus the entire country would still be inside the EU. This would also mean the ECJ would have jurisdiction over N.I. thus over the nation as whole. The Single Market and the Customs Union are linked together as goods and labour are seen in the same light. As one can surmise, there was simply no way at all the ERG would support this deal. A large number of remain and leave voting Tory MPs agreed; impasse.
Graham Brady submitted an amendment that would have Theresa May go back to Brussels, reopen the deal to seek alternative arrangements. The hope being that she will demand the backstop either be taken out or have a time limit attached to it. On Tuesday the House of Commons voted for the Brady amendment passing it with 317 votes for and 301 against. The ERG supported the amendment after getting Theresa May to put forth the amendment by her own government. Her reassurances weren’t enough as all trust has broken down.
I believe the Brady amendment is a rotten egg. Theresa May’s authority has been on life support since her drastic defeat, yet rather than change course entirely and do as the majority of the nation want’s, she’s won something for nothing. The main reason why this amendment got through was because it stated the backstop would be replaced by ‘alternative arrangements’. The amendment nor the government as of yet can state what those alternative arrangements are. If Theresa May really wanted Brexit then she would have worked with Brady to state in the amendment what those alternative arrangements would be. But no, essentially all that is going to happen is she will go back to the EU with cap in hand. True to her nature, she has no ideas of her own that would deliver Brexit. So I guess she’ll stand in front of the Commission and shrug her shoulders as usual and take whatever they give her. Talk around Westminster is that now the ball is in the EU’s court. However, having an agreed position – finally – doesn’t mean you have authority or sway at the negotiation table. Your stance is meant to do that. The EU still chooses the direction of the negotiations because the government hasn’t come up with a demand or ‘alternative arrangement’.
She will go back to the EU with the same lack of belief and will to deliver Brexit as she has had for the last two and a half years. During the earlier parts of her premiership, one could agree that yes she was a remainer but as to what degree was not clear cut. Now, after this disgustingly abysmal performance at the negotiations and her treatment of Brexiteers in her party, it’s clear as a summer’s day. Theresa May is in fact, a euro-fanatic. She charged on with her deal even though she had to postpone it for fear of a shocking defeat. That defeat still came. Alas, Theresa May has not taken the opportunity provided by the vagueness of the Brady amendment to show the Brexiteers in the party that she will champion a position they can support.
The EU has stated over and over, they won’t reopen negotiations. Macron himself said on the day of the voting in the Commons, that it was “the best possible” offer. In recent polling, we now know that the majority of the British people support a ‘No Deal’. This is a bit of play on words because what No Deal really means, is going onto WTO rules for trade. This is the option that I have supported since the very beginning of 2018. It was clear to me, that like a bloodthirsty harpy the EU would find some way to dig its claws into our sovereignty. I believe that we should go onto WTO rules, stand true to the vote and deliver on the three principles of leaving the EU.