Why did May’s Deal Fail so Spectacularly?

Theresa May has suffered a resounding defeat over her Brexit deal in the House of Commons. Most political commentators had seen this coming; its defeat certainly had a sense of inevitability about it all. May’s botched deal has been rightly criticised by, not only members of the opposition but also many MP’s from her own party. So just why has her deal proved so unpopular?

May’s first big mistake was insisting on leaving the Customs Union; effectively leaving herself hamstrung from the start. Seen as an essential component of any deal by hard Brexiteers, the decision to leave the Customs Union generated the Irish border problem which put her at odds with the very Party (DUP) who are there to support her up. There has been no real progress made in resolving the border dispute, and absurd claims from Senior Tory MP’s like Jacob Rees Mogg (claiming that the failure of May’s deal would be the fault of the “obdurate” Irish government and their threat of a “phantom” border issue) has only weaken May’s coalition with the DUP who oppose the controversial backstop and had vowed to vote against her should Northern Ireland be treated any differently to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Ironically, it is fair to say that, given her strict red lines, May had negotiated the best deal possible; curbing free movement and safeguarding peace in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately for May, however, Brextremists still seem to believe that a better deal is possible; seemingly believing that the Irish border issue will just disappear. In essence, May’s deal was doomed to fail given the incompatibility of her aims to avoid a hard border in Ireland and leave the Customs Union. Even with her controversial backstop plan, this issue remains unsolved.

May cannot, however, shoulder all the blame for this defeat. The many competing factions in the Tory party have made her job near enough impossible. The Tories are divided; no one Brexit deal will satisfy a majority of the Party. On the one hand, you have the hard-line Brexiteers who fear May’s deal renders the UK an EU rule taker. On the other hand, you have Remain voting MP’s who are keen for a Norway style Brexit; retaining access to the EU’s common market. These two positions are inherently incompatible. May’s job gets even more difficult when you consider the rise of MP’s like Anna Soubry campaigning for a People’s Vote. There is no unity in the Tory party. In fact, the only time we have seen the Conservatives united in any way shape or form was in condemnation of May’s “half-way house” deal.

Tory infighting has severely damaged May’s credibility in her Brexit negotiations.  The wave of ministerial resignations in response to May’s deal have hugely hindered her ability to negotiate with the EU; who are understandably wary of negotiating with someone who can’t even command a majority in her own party. After facing a Vote of No Confidence from her own MP’s, it became apparently clear that May could not be trusted to negotiate a Brexit deal which best served the interest of the whole country; given she couldn’t even present one which had the support of her own party.

However, rather than working hard tirelessly to secure significant concessions from the EU and win over MP’s in regards to the controversial backstop issue; May instead opted to engage in Project Fear, trying to force her deal through Parliament by ramping up preparations for a no-deal. It had always seemed likely that May lacked confidence in her own deal; having already postponed the Meaningful Vote once. However, resorting to brinkmanship was a huge display of cowardice; one which hardly inspired confidence that her deal was the best for Britain.

Ultimately, MP’s called May’s bluff. Threats of a no-deal have united the House against her; more than 200 MP’s want her to unequivocally rule out a no-deal and the Cooper amendment (to restrict government tax powers unless a no deal is taken off the table) resulted in the first defeat for any government on a Finance Bill in 41 years with 20 MP’s voting against May.

As much as May’s failure was one of her own making, much credit must also be given to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party who have been a constant thorn in May’s side throughout the Brexit process. By tabling amendments which have limited the possibility of a no deal, as well as having secured a Meaningful Vote on Mays deal in the first place; Labour has played a huge role in upholding the sovereignty of Parliament in the Brexit process.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy has been something of a political masterstroke. By leaving all options on the table, pledging to call a general election and renegotiate with the EU; as well as entertaining the possibility of a Peoples Vote should they fail to call an election, Corbyn has refused to make Tories the party of Brexit. Barry Gardiner even suggested giving the public a final say on any Labour withdrawal agreement, cleverly promising both to negotiate a better deal (appealing to those who voted for Labour in 2017 on the promise that they would deliver Brexit) while also promising the public a real say on Brexit.

Ultimately however, the failure of May’s deal was inevitable given the how polarised the country has become since the Brexit vote. There is no consensus on what the will of the country actually is. While Boris Johnson may claim that the country voted to leave the EU without a deal, many polls have shown a significant swing back in favour of remain.

The Leave Campaign sold a dream it could not fulfil. Brexit was sold as a means of taking back control. May’s deal renders us an EU rule taker. Brexiteers promised that leaving the EU would be easy and that there would be no need for a transition period. This myth has since been dispelled. May faced an impossible task in negotiating a good deal under these circumstances. Delivering on the promises of a bunch of deluded Brexiteers who used lies and deceit to attract voters was never going to be politically achievable.

 

The Government’s Deal has Failed, what next for Theresa May?

It’s not a surprise to anyone that Theresa May has crashed to defeat on her Brexit deal. Ever since the Chequers meeting of the Cabinet, it’s been clear that there was no parliamentary majority for what was planned. When the Northern Ireland Protocol – the much talked about ‘Backstop’ was added in it was only ever a matter of how crushing the defeat would be.

So, having rejected not only the deal but also all the amendments selected by the Speaker for MPs’ consideration, where do MPs go from here, and what’s the most likely outcome to the Brexit deadlock inside parliament.

Despite all the talk about the amendment tabled by Tory MP Dominic Grieve that calls on the government to bring forward a new plan within three days. What that doesn’t contain however, is a compulsion for a debate to take place, so it would be perfectly possible for the government to table a motion and allow it to languish on the House of Commons Order Paper for weeks, running down the clock before coming back with either a new plan, or bringing back the Withdrawal Agreement.

We leave with No Deal. Britain is leaving the EU on 29th March 2019. This isn’t just an oft-mentioned slogan from the embattled Brexiteers but a fact of statute, set out in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. MPs have already passed motions claiming to be against No Deal, and it’s clear that there is no majority for that path in the Commons, but what isn’t clear is how MPs can avoid it. Overturning the withdrawal date would require a new statute, but the government controls the timetable in parliament, so would have to introduce any new legislation to that end. Whether Theresa May would be willing to do that, given the huge backlash she would face from her own party, is uncertain.

Theresa May resigns. Although given that she has continued despite the resignations, the disastrous General Election campaign and more than 100 of her own MPs voting against her, this seems unlikely. The cabinet could take matters into their own hands. If a steady stream of Remainers object privately or resign, at the prospect of No Deal, it would be hard to see May staying in post. On the other hand, if leave backer Cabinet members start resigning if May indicates she may move away from the current timescale, that could also force her out.

General Election. This is the preferred option of Labour and a few Tory MPs have said they would be willing to bring the government down to avert a No Deal exit. However, with many Tory Brexiteers and the DUP committed to keeping May in power, it seems unlikely. Simply passing a motion of no confidence doesn’t lead automatically to an election. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act means there would be 14 days for a new government to form and hold another vote, something that can be repeated many times. There simply isn’t time for this to happen and for a General Election before 29th March.

Second referendum. It seems unlikely for now, but given the Labour Party Conference motion leaves this on the table, there is a chance that this will be official Labour policy within the next three weeks. There might be enough Tory MPs to join with the Lib Dems and the SNP to bring the numbers into a majority, but with the DUP and a large number of Labour MPs opposed that seems unlikely.

Article 50 revoked. A recent court case brought by Scottish parliamentarians has confirmed that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU on the terms that we currently have. The court did say that the constitutional arrangements of the UK would have to be fulfilled, which essentially means a vote in parliament. Unless the Labour Party have a big change of heart this won’t happen. Even if a majority of MPs could pass a motion in favour of revocation, it wouldn’t be legally binding on the government to act.

Article 50 extended or suspended. Slightly trickier than a simple revocation because it needs the support of the 27 EU Member States. While there has been some discussion of this in Brussels, no formal talks have taken place, and it’s unlikely that there would be enough support in the House of Commons to do this, and then there is the consideration of the EU asking for more from the UK in exchange for the extension.

Theresa May goes to Brussels and renegotiate. This seemed to be the most likely outcome, until the exchange of letters with Juncker and Tusk earlier this week. Their statement that there will be no further negotiation on the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement makes any significant negotiations unlikely. However, the Commission has revealed that Jean Claude Juncker won’t be in Strasbourg on Wednesday, as he is staying in Brussels to deal with Brexit. The issue with this approach for the Prime Minister is it will only encourage some in her party to continue to oppose the deal in the hope of more and more concessions from the EU.

Parliament takes control of the process. This is something that is discussed often but hasn’t been fully explained. There is a chance for so-called ‘indicative votes’ where MPs would be asked to express an opinion on a range of options in order to decide what would be acceptable. Without government support, these motions wouldn’t be legally binding and could all be ignored without any consequence, except some political backlash at Westminster.

So the outcome depends on two factors, neither of which can be fully known at this stage. Firstly, what will the government do? Will they sit back and coast towards No Deal, will they frantically renegotiate? Will May throw her hands up and let parliament decide and take the wrath of the leavers, or will she even resign? The second factor is public opinion. Will polls in the coming days show people are backing the deal, a second referendum or content to sit back and wait for 29th March. Whatever the outcome, it’s fair to say the coming days and weeks will be among the most momentous in our lifetimes.

May’s Deal is Dead. Parliament Now has Two Options.

 

It’s official, the deal has been defeated.

The government has lost the vote on the EU withdrawal agreement by 202 to 432, a humiliating majority of 230 against the deal and the biggest parliamentary defeat of modern times.

A no-confidence vote in the government has been tabled by Labour for the 16th January and pressure will increase on Theresa May to resign (although May is nothing if not a survivor).

Any confidence vote is highly unlikely to be successful for Labour – even with May’s authority so severely diminished – it will therefore likely fall on the current government to seek a new Brexit withdrawal agreement.

So, now that May’s deal is dead, what’s next for the government?

Dominic Grieve’s recent amendment states that the government has three days to make a statement before parliament as to their intentions following the defeat of the withdrawal agreement. It is likely May will use the defeat of the deal to attempt a renegotiation of the deal, particularly in regards to the backstop – in an attempt to win support from the ERG and DUP.

Any renegotiation concessions on the part of the EU, however, are likely to be limited, and even without the backstop, the ERG are still likely to oppose any deal that is similar to that already rejected by parliament.

A second referendum is also unlikely to gain majority support in the current parliament, due to reluctance from the Labour frontbench and Conservative remainers. Not to mention the outright opposition from leave supporting MPs across the house.

In order to break the parliamentary deadlock then, the government/parliament have two realistic options – both of which will likely require an extension of Article 50 to be achieved in time.

  1. Seek EEA membership, providing single market access and a customs union, through a coalition of Labour MPs and remainer Tories.
  2. Call a general election.

A political declaration seeking EEA membership is the only realistic Brexit model that has any hope of passing the current parliament. Numerous Conservative MPs support this proposal, notably Nick Boles, Nicky Morgan and reportedly even Michael Gove (if rumours are to be believed).

A Brexit deal focused around EEA membership also has the potential of meeting the Labour frontbench’s requirements set out by Starmer and Corbyn as a condition for Labour support. The vast majority of Labour MPs would likely rally around this proposal, particularly once it has become clear there is not adequate support for a second referendum in parliament.

EEA membership also will not require a general election, a proposition which is highly toxic to Conservative MPs that would have to vote no confidence in their own government and put their own seats at risk in the process.

However, this will remain a difficult course to pursue as it is highly unlikely that the government would be willing to endorse the EEA model. If they did, they would open themselves up to ERG support for a no-confidence vote that could collapse the government. After all, if the ERG will not accept the deal as it stands then it is unthinkable that they would let a far softer Brexit through parliament. It may well then fall to cross-party groupings in parliament to direct the negotiations, rather than the government, to achieve a Brexit deal.

 

The other alternative is to call a general election. This is Labour’s preferred strategy as the party is confident about their chances of forming at least a minority government in the face of the clear Conservative divisions over their Brexit policy.

A general election has the potential to legitimise numerous Brexit policies depending on the manifesto commitments of either party. The Conservative manifesto would presumably offer something similar to May’s rejected deal, increasing pressure on MPs to support it in the case of a Conservative victory.

The Labour manifesto would involve a controversial struggle between advocates of a second referendum against advocates of something similar to EEA membership. Considering the limited timeframe for a general election (which detracts from membership input over policy in the name of quick decision-making) and the scepticism of the Labour frontbench about a ‘People’s Vote’, EEA membership is the likely commitment – but is not inevitable.

A general election will be incredibly difficult to achieve as it involves Conservative MPs or the DUP voting to collapse their own administration. However, if the clock continues to tick towards a no-deal Brexit then it will become increasingly likely that some MPs would prefer risking their seats than crashing out of the EU.

 

If neither of these options can be achieved, then a no-deal Brexit will occur by default. This is the preference of many hard-Brexiteers who wish to run down the clock to an automatic no-deal Brexit. This will not become government policy, as numerous Conservative MPs have expressed their desire to resign from the party rather than endorse this policy.

Instead, hard Brexiteers will hope to exacerbate parliamentary gridlock so no consensus can emerge over a softer form of Brexit. Once the UK has crashed out of the EU without a negotiated deal, then negotiations for a future (distant) relationship with the block can begin as well as trade deals with large non-European economies.

This remains the least likely scenario, as although parliament has clearly struggled to find a majority for any form of Brexit (or opposition to Brexit), there is a clear majority against a no-deal scenario. This majority against no deal is likely to create increasing pressure for MPs to unite around a model that does minimal economic damage and can achieve a realistic majority in parliament.

 

There is no simple solution to the parliamentary deadlock over Brexit. But with time running out to avoid the Brexit cliff-edge, MPs from across the house will have to make difficult decisions and work together if a disastrous no-deal outcome is to be avoided.

Jeremy Corbyn Tables Motion of No-Confidence in Government

Jeremy Corbyn has tonight tabled a motion of no-confidence against the government.

This means parliament will have an opportunity to vote. MP’s will have to choose between two options, those options are as follows;

 

– I have confidence in the Government of the current day.

– I do not have confidence in the Government of today.

 

It is unknown as to whether this motion will be successful. Should it be, Theresa May will likely be forced to resign, and there will be a snap general election. During which members of the public will vote on who there local MP’s are, and, ultimately, who the Prime Minister will be. Jeremy Corbyn will see this as a massive opportunity to get his Labour Party into government. Smaller parties such as the SNP and the Liberal Democrats will be canvassing ferociously to gain seats and put them in prime position to form a coalition government to overthrow the Conservatives.

The future is uncertain, but this stands as a very good chance for Labour to gain seats against their Tory counterparts, and, ultimately try to gain governance.

Parliament Vote Against PM’s Brexit Deal by Considerable Margin

Parliament voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with the Prime Minister losing by 230 votes.

This means the Prime Minister will likely try to regain support from her MPs. May’s Conservative party remains incredibly divided. The PM will return to the EU and plea for a revision to the deal, with the Northern Ireland backstop being a major talking point.

No Deal remains a very real possibility. Should the UK leave without a deal, GDP and the GBP will likely go into freefall. This will result in increased shop shelf prices, increased unemployment and more homelessness.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will likely call a no-confidence vote in the government tomorrow. However, it is unsure what effect this will have. For Labour, the ideal is that the House of Commons votes to call a General Election. This would give Labour a very good opportunity to rid the Tories of power. Nevertheless, the result remains very unclear.

The Prime Minister will likely return to her deal and present it to parliament once more, in a desperate attempt to regain the support of her Conservative MP’s. This means she will likely face defeat once more.

It is unsure as to what will happen next, but we can all agree on one thing. This Government is unfit to deliver any kind of Brexit.

Speaker Bercow puts final nail in the coffin for May’s deal

After two years (and a month’s delay) Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement will today finally be voted on in the House of Commons.

After huge vocal opposition from her own backbenchers, numerous ministerial resignations and a divide with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) (who support the government in a confidence and supply agreement) the prospects of May’s deal passing parliament are incredibly slim.

The government’s aim appears to have switched from passing the deal to managing the scale of its defeat. Damage limitation hopes rested this morning on a series of amendments to the deal, some of which the government had signalled support for.

The speaker has selected four amendments for debate before the vote, unfortunately for the government, none of these are those it supports.

 

The Murrison amendment was the main hope for May, as it would have applied a binding time limit on the backstop (the part of the deal causing the most opposition – particularly from the DUP), potentially persuading some sceptical MPs to back the deal as a short-term solution to deliver Brexit. While this amendment is incompatible with the actual agreement, the government hoped to use it as leverage in renegotiations with the EU in the likely event the deal is voted down.

The speaker also rejected the Hugo Swire amendment – also focusing on amending the backstop with a requirement that it be replaced within 12 months of the end of the transition.

From the Labour benches, John Mann’s amendment has also been rejected, which proposed the government commit to maintaining employment, environmental protection and health and safety standards after Brexit. John Mann is one of the few Labour MPs breaking with the whip to support May’s deal, and the government would’ve hoped this amendment may have persuaded more wavering Labour MPs to back the deal.

 

The four amendments that the speaker has chosen for debates are all highly unlikely to pass or achieve government backing:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tabled an amendment that puts pressure on the government to pursue all alternatives to no deal.

From the SNP, Ian Blackford’s amendment rejects the deal and calls for an extension of Article 50.

Sir Edward Leigh and John Barron have both proposed amendments that focus on the UK’s ability to exit the backstop – but the government have already rejected Leigh’s proposal.

 

With no favourable amendments to the deal selected for debate and no change in the agreement after attempts at renegotiation with the EU, May’s deal seems doomed to fail. Bar a political miracle, the real question now is what the scale of the defeat will be this evening.

May: Tuesday’s Vote could lead to “Catastrophic Harm” to UK Politics

Theresa May has made a final speech as MPs prepare to vote tomorrow in the House of Commons on May’s Brexit Deal, following a letter send by the European Commission saying it was ‘committed’ to pushing for alternative arrangements and relations with the UK.

Speaking from Stoke, Theresa May has warned of “catastrophic harm” to politics in the UK if the country doesn’t leave the EU, and that a formal cancellation of Brexit is more likely than a no-deal scenario if May’s deal is voted down on Tuesday.

Theresa May also warned that down-voting her deal would lead to a “paralysis in Parliament” and could trigger a second EU referendum.

In the speech, the Prime Minister also welcomed assurances by Juncker and EU delegates over the impacts faced by Northern Ireland, saying that the UK had “legal force” to ensure a smooth transition under May’s Brexit Deal.

However, senior DUP members, including the deputy leader Nigel Dodds, have said the letter issued by the European Union on the Northern Ireland issue does far from reassuring politicians on the safety of the province. Speaking in response to May’s speech, Nigel Dodds stated that the letter only “bolstered our concerns”, and that the Prime Minister should now “deliver changes to the withdrawal agreement” instead of focusing on letters.

The letter sent by the EU today stated that it was committed to look at alternatives to the current customs arrangements and future relations with the UK regarding Northern Ireland and other issues around Brexit, to avoid a hard-border situation between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which would fundamentally change and potentially damage Northern Irish commerce and trade. Other members of the DUP have dismissed the Prime Minister’s speech as “foolish talk.”

It was almost completely assured that the Labour Party will vote against the deal tomorrow, along with public announcements of disapproval from around 100 conservative MPs, and all of the DUPs 10 sitting MPs.

Parts of the speech released to the media previously were met with criticism by opposition politicians after they suggested May would mention the 1997 Welsh referendum, where the vote was passed with a margin of 0.3%. The eventual result was claimed in the speech to have been “accepted by both sides” when even May herself voted against the eventual result in 1997 and the 2005 Conservative Manifesto even pledged to offer a second referendum on the result of the vote. This part of the speech has since been amended to mention the results as “accepted by Parliament”.

In the wake of May’s speech, a senior Conservative whip has also sent in his letter of resignation to Downing Street due to his opposition to May’s Brexit deal.

Gareth Johnson, the Conservative whip and MP for Dartford, has sent a formal letter of resignation to the Prime Minister. Johnson stated in the letter that he can no longer support May’s deal “when it is clear this deal would be detrimental to our nation’s interests.”

This brings the total number of Conservative MPs who have resigned because of May’s Brexit deal to 13.

Johnson has served as MP for Dartford since 2010 and gained a large majority in both all 3 general elections he has ran in, and previously served as a Councillor. He has also served as the Conservative party’s whip since 2015.

It now appears highly unlikely that the Prime Minister will be able to attain the majority she needs to put her Brexit deal into action, with many MPs from her own party voicing their opposition to her actions in lieu of the vote planned for Tuesday. Should the vote be unsuccessful, the next few days will involve May returning the Brussels and attempting to direct the EU to make further concessions on the deal and have it accepted once against by all members of the European Commission. Next Monday, a vote will then be held on “Plan B”, the next course of action planned by Theresa May, the details of which are still largely unknown to MPs and the wider public, which is hypothesised to be a series of indicative votes used to test Parliament’s opinions to give the EU a clearer picture of directions for negotiation.

Government backs amendment on Brexit, that would see U.K. align with EU’s Environment and Employment law.

In what seems to be a final hour U-Turn from the Government, Greg Clark has announced that they will back an ammendment from 3 MP’s, John Mann (Lab), Caroline Flint (Lab), Lisa Nandy (Lab), that will see the U.K. permanently align with the EU’s environment and employment laws.

This will be seen as a major blow to the far-right ideologues that exist in the Conservative party, that are seeing their vision of a no-deal Brexit that would pave the way for the eradication of human rights and environmental rollbacks, that the neoliberals dream of.

All eyes are now on the numbers, this will be seen as a major concession, that is unlikely to win the support from any of the extremist’s in the Tory party, nor will the DUP be anymore pleased, but it may just force the hand of some Labour MP’s. Fears that the U.K. would align with the U.S. in many legislative practises has been a major source of worry for opposition MP’s. A victory next week in the commons on her EU deal, would likely save the PM’s premiership, but it will most certainly not see the end of the debate on our relationship with Europe.

It comes on a day, where EuroTunnel have announced that the Chris Grayling’s No-Deal preperations are illegal, and are in breach of competition laws. They have said that they want a similar contract as was awarded to shipping companies in the case of a No-Deal Brexit, or they will launch legal action against the transport department.

 

Analysis by Deputy-Editor – Seb Chromiak

It may be easier said than done, but reaching across the house for consensus on an issue is seeminly a thing of the past, until now. There are major political splits in this divided nation, but what many MP’s have been calling for, is agreement across the house on our future relationship with the EU. Theresa’s desperate appeals on the honours list, that some have labelled bribery is nothing short of embarassing, this could have been avoided.

As for Chris Grayling, he is likely one of the most incompetent politicians to have braced public office, in any other age, he would have been long gone, imbécile, comes to mind.

Former MI6 and Defence Chiefs Write Letter to Warn PM’s Deal “Places National Security into Foreign Hands”

Former Head of MI6; Sir Richard Dearlove and former Chief of the Defence Staff; Lord Guthrie have written a joint letter to Conservative Association Offices urging MP’s to vote down May’s deal over Security Concerns.

Dearlove and Guthrie, who served as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and Cheif of Defense Staff Respectively, warns May’s deal will alter relationships with the EU drastically. Buried deep in the agreement lies an offer of a ‘New, deep and personal relationship’ with the EU in defence, security and intelligence which cuts across fundamental national security policies including membership of NATO,  our Bilateral Defence and Intelligence Relationship with the USA and the Five Eyes intelligence service.

Downing Street sent an immediate response to the letter, signifying the importance and cruciality of the warning. The Go

vernment rebutted the letter, which Dearlove and Guthrie claim indicated a “worryingly poor understanding of the issues” resulting in our national security being placed into foreign hands.

Dearlove, who currently serves as Chair of Board of Trustees of the University of London, lead MI6 from 1999 to 2004 and is a very well known and trusted figurehead. Guthrie is widely respected throughout the country and is known for his intense, strategic thinking. The decision by the former MI6 employees is widely reflected to be a public backing of ‘No-Deal’, with both being well aware that May and her government have repeatedly stated that the only way to prevent ‘No-Deal’ is by voting for the Prime Minister’s deal. It is unlikely for them to U-Turn and advocate for a second referendum, which continues to gain popularity, considering the duo’s strong Euroscepticism.

This serves as yet another blow to Theresa May’s botched deal, with the Prime Minister already delaying parliaments vote on the deal until January 2019. This was because the PM believed her deal wouldn’t get enough votes to pass through parliament. Delaying the deal was a last-ditch attempt at buying some time to convince MP’s to back her deal, resulting in her own MP’s calling a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, which she won by a mediocre margin. With May facing her second defeat in Parliament within the last 24 hours and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn confirming Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the Government if her deal is voted down, things are looking bleaker and bleaker for the PM.

Labour has finally understood left-wing politics in Britain, Europe won’t be far behind.

All the indications are that left-wing politics is in crisis, there isn’t a week that goes by without the gloomy predictions from the continent on a party’s electoral chances.

We should think of politics in much the same vein as Capitalism, there are patterns to be observed, crisis and then prosperity.  Though this period of crisis for the left, where in just 5 countries in Europe the left have control of parliament, may be different. There is an emerging pattern, on economic policy, right wing parties however extreme are integrating left-wing policies into their campaign pledges, this is an encouraging sign, albeit in a non-traditional sense. Look for example domestically, where the Conservative party adopted many Labour manifesto promises, including increases in spending on healthcare an attempt to tackle the growing power of online corporations.

Across the channel, other right-wing governments are doing the same. the Italian government may be considered populist or nationalist, but are defying austerity and strict EU deficit rules on their budget. Gone are commitments to free markets, instead plans to introduce Universal Basic Income a policy that has long been pushed by the left. UBI is a policy that hopes to solve the problem of the 4th industrial revolution. What will happen to workers when full automation becomes a reality?

Europe is unique from Britain in that voting for right-wing governments is a sign of a rejection of inequality, a protest against elites and often nationalism. Where in the U.K. people tend to vote for the Conservative party, is to keep the elite in power, and secure your riches. Yet, Britain’s left is thriving.

In Europe as in the U.K the left has been lost, though there are signs of hope, ideas are central to everything, the fact that the far-right are adopting economically left-wing policies, is a sign of the changing times. What the left must realise is that they are trying to attract the same voters as the populists, because the voters are sufferring from the same symptoms that the left have the willingness to solve.

The left also has to adapt, as Capitalism does. I will repeat, these are changing times and although I disagree with closing borders and appealing to nationalism, many don’t share this view. I also realise that these concerns are unfounded, when you study the data, so this also needs to be communicated better. Crucially in the 21st century, voters can’t be put into traditional brackets of political alignment, largely due to the changes that have occurred because of Globalisation. Just because someone has a right-wing view of immigration, does not mean they have can’t be left-leaning economically. The perfect paradigm that used to define left and right wing politics is blurred, the sooner we realise that, the better.

The British economist and business professor Geoffrey Hodgson in his book “Wrong Turnings: How the Left Got Lost,” argues that, after making compromises with capitalism since the 1950’s, the socialist and labour parties have failed to offer a “persuasive, feasible and democratic alternative to capitalism” after the 2008 global financial crisis. 

In the U.K. the momentum is with Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party, the fat cat campaign highlights this, where CEO’s earn what a normal worker does in 3 days. His muddled stance on the EU, but his unwavering support from his base is evidence of a party that has adapted, they understand the economic hardship that the Tories have forced upon the working class. Europe again, is slightly different, but reconnecting is crucial to any European parties electoral viability, the Momentum campaign and as a strategy to electoral victory is evidence of this.

The 2019 European elections may side with the populists in the news bulletins, but Europe’s left should not be all doom and gloom, they will be back.