Broken Britain – As the political system is crumbling, more democracy is not the answer

The 2015 coalition government was a warning that the political system is broken, Giovanni Sartori predicted as much.

The current crisis in British politics seems to have no end, it is almost certain that however Brexit concludes it will continue to divide the nation, which has been accompanied by an increase in the calls for general elections to resolve impasses. Impasses which have commonly been associated with Southern European politics, where political check-mate is resolved with a return to the polls. There are signs that our democracy is heading in a similar direction, and if the work of Giovanni Sartori is anything to go by, we should brace ourselves for more frequent elections. Worse still, there is a trend, in Germany the deadlock of the elections has meant Angela Merkel sifting power to other parties, Sweden was without a government for 4 months. The contending divisions of how we intend to pursue economic growth will only exacerbate this problem, as cooperation becomes unlikely.

The whole design of the first past the post system is that it is supposed to deliver a clear winner on each occasion, to give parties the opportunity to govern. Yet both in 2010 and in 2017 the electorate returned a damning verdict that no one party is fit to govern by themselves, revealing a deep mistrust in politicians. The years since 2010 have shown that the electorate is lacking confidence in a single party, and hence there have been significant constraints on any party’s power in government. One cannot look past the Iraq war, where a significant majority in the governing party allowed a catastrophic failing of the checks and balances that parliament should offer.

For a two-party system to function, Sartori argues that at each election one party should have a clear chance of winning, as used to be the case in Britain. The emergence of a third-party is signs of a crisis in the political sphere, something we have become familiar with since 2010. In 2010, the Liberal Democrats won 23% of the vote, in an alternative vote plus system as the German’s have, the Tories would have won 275 seats, Labour 234 and Lib Dems 110. In 2017, the Tory majority would have been 13. According to Sartori, the SNP would have had governing potential in 2015 as coalition partners, as did the Lib Dems in 2010, and though UKIP would still have barely gained any seats under proportional representation they still gained over 12% of the vote, making them a threat according to Sartori. They all point to an fractured political system that is broken and in crisis, further still all three election results pose the risk that this is to continue.

There is significance in the fact we have had 2 elections in the last 5 years, more so the latter election, as it has un-earthed an environment where every time a Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to pass a land-mark policy, there are calls for them to resign. In Spain, as the Socialist Government’s budget fails to pass, a general election has been called for the 28th April. I can only think back to the famous clip from Bristol in 2017, when a BBC reporter’s question on whether we will return to the polls was met with the response, ‘you’re joking, another one, I can’t stand this.’ Which is true, voter fatigue exists, and the instability caused by constant elections is not only bad for business, but also for faith in democracy. In recent times I have supported calling a general election, particularly as the catastrophic mishandling of Brexit has unfolded, yet it is against this mindset that Sartori warns, hence I recognise the dangers. Any attempts to break this cycle, of election after election will meet significant challenges, as opposition party’s continually present the answer to the problem. This in combination with the fact that parties are increasingly polarised and are more likely to use the power of veto, make for turbulent times in U.K. politics. The Italian electorate are all too familiar with this cycle, they’ve had 61 different Prime Ministers since the end of the 2nd World War. The political system in Britain is crumbling, Sartori tells us that more democracy is unlikely to heal this. It may pay off to listen.

Seb Chromiak is Deputy Editor-in-Chief at TPN.

Labour will back new Cooper bill that aims to extend Article 50 to stop No Deal

Keir Starmer has announced Labour will back a bill designed by Yvette Cooper to stop a No Deal and extend Article 50.

The bill would extend Article 50 to allow the government more time to negotiate the withdrawal deal with the EU and prevent the government from running down the clock and delivering a No Deal Brexit.

Cooper hopes to force a vote on an amendment on the 27th February that will force the government to give time to debate her bill. The bill would give May until 13th March to get her deal through Parliament. If this does not occur MPs would vote between a No Deal Brexit and extending Article 50.

It would be up to the government to decide how long the extension is. This is in contrast to Cooper’s last amendment that had it set at 9 months.

Cooper is proposing the amendment and the bill with Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin. Caroline Spelman (Tory) who did not vote for the Cooper amendment 2 weeks ago has announced she will back the bill.

14 Labour MPs voted against the amendment two weeks ago ensuring it passed despite Tory rebellions.

In a statement Cooper said;

This bill would require the prime minister and parliament to take crucial decisions by the middle of March at the very latest on whether the UK is leaving with a deal, without a deal or seeking an extension to article 50. It forces the prime minister to tell us whether she wants to leave with no deal or to extend article 50 if she still hasn’t got a deal in place by the middle of March. This bill creates a parliamentary safeguard to prevent us drifting into no deal by accident, and to prevent those crucial decisions being left until the final fortnight. 

The bill would be a major blow to May who hopes to use the threat of No Deal to get her own deal through Parliament. It will find support from Europhillic Tory MPs but Labour will need to do a better job at whipping it MPs in leave constituencies if it wants the bill to pass.

Other amendments that have been proposed include Geraint Davies’ bill that would see Labour MPs back the deal if it is put to a referendum. The referendum would be between Remain and May’s deal. Strangely this is not backed by the People’s Vote campaign. Latest polling says remain would win a referendum against May’s deal by a safe margin. It also includes an extension of Article 50.

Jeremy Corbyn has also tabled an amendment to the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan which would force the Government to hold a fresh vote on her deal by the end of February. This will be tabled on Thursday.

In a statement Corbyn said:

This amendment would stop the Government from running down the clock on the Brexit negotiations, hoping Members of Parliament can be blackmailed into supporting a botched deal.
“This is an act of gross irresponsibility. The Prime Minister is playing for time and playing with people’s jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry.

Labour will hope that May will switch to backing their Brexit deal that includes a comprehensive customs union with the EU post-Brexit.
Reports say Government officials have started planning for a customs Union deal for Brexit in a similar style to the proposals put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, despite Theresa May publicly denouncing the plans last week.

No Deal Brexit and Britain’s History of “Going in Alone”

The Brexit clock is ticking, and with every tick, the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal becomes ever more likely.

There has been a notable shift in public opinion to the prospect of a No Deal Brexit. For many, leaving the EU without a deal has been recast from a last resort to a necessity. Once feared and avoided at all costs, it is now being embraced with open arms; even suggested it was what the people voted had for in the first place.

A staggering 28% of Britons believe Theresa May should get ready to leave the EU on WTO terms a new poll has found. So just why has a No Deal become so popular?

Ultimately, the gradual acceptance of the idea of a No Deal Brexit is a symptom of our politician’s failure to negotiate a workable Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. This “to hell with the rest of the world” is the embodiment of an electorate who have lost all hope in politics.

Leavers want Brexit to happen with or without a deal. Why? Because Brexit was sold as an end to austerity and people want to see change. And as bad as a No Deal may be for Britain, in the eyes of many, it can’t be worse than what they are experiencing at the moment.

Essentially, the Brexit impasse has fostered the sense that the EU- in refusing to renegotiate with Theresa May- is to be seen as an enemy. As an institution, it is intent on thwarting Brexit and ensuring the worst deal possible for Britain. It is in Britain’s best interests, therefore, to walk away without a deal.

This fascination with “going it alone” is ingrained in the British psyche; underpinned by the myths of British history and our abhorrent arrogance and self-importance.

Many of these myths have their roots in World War II. A national, collective memory has emerged since the Second World War which gives increased emphasis on Britain “going it alone” and single-handedly repelling the Nazi threat. WWII legitimised the “small island mentality”:  a country small in size but strong in character.

Dunkirk, the Blitz, the Battle of Britain. All these words evoke an image of uniqueness and resolve in British character. Could “Brexit” be added to this list? Just as we, as a nation, were able to adapt and overcome adversity at a time of war, surely we are more than capable of looking after ourselves should we crash out of the EU without a deal? This “Blitz Spirit” camaraderie has underpinned much of the new-found popularity of a No Deal Brexit.  

As with much of British history, these opinions are unfounded and in many parts a-historical. We never fought alone against the Nazi’s: we were helped by two and a half million troops from our Empire. Dunkirk – seen by many as a noble victory – was a humiliating retreat in which British soldiers suffered 60000 casualties. These events have become part of the national memory and are thus free from criticism and scrutiny.

They are readily employed by politicians on the Right to champion the strength and willpower of the British people: we’ve fought two world wars; surely we can survive a No Deal Brexit?

These attitudes are extremely dangerous. We risk blindly walking off a cliff in pursuit on the basis of flawed assumptions which don’t hold up to historical scrutiny. These legacies were formed at a time of war and were engineered to serve a specific propaganda purpose. In the case of Brexit, we are at war with ourselves, and the same approaches simply cannot be reapplied.

In essence, Brexit has been made to fit into this notional arch of British history in which our values and security are constantly under threat from “foreigners”. This myth ignores the fact that Britain became a superpower abroad, first through Empire, then through the Commonwealth and finally the EU. This fact simply does not fit into the narrative of our glorious, isolated past.

The tragic irony is, just as the Blitz caused more damage to working class communities, so too will a No Deal Brexit. Increased food prices, job outsourcing and shortages of medicine will hit the poorest in our society harder.

A No Deal Brexit would be incredibly dangerous for Britain. It is the duty of our MP’s to have the guts to act on the Spelman amendment and force the Prime Minister to categorically rule it out and allow Labour to negotiate a Brexit deal which protects British interests.

The Conservatives are committing mass Manslaughter by Gross Negligence, here’s how over 320,000 lives are at risk.

Tonight, more than 320,000 lives will be at risk. With heavy snow and cold weather due to take the UK by storm, homeless people will be at risk once more.

While you’re lying all snug tonight, spare a thought for homeless people. Tonight, the UK is set to be battered and torn by below freezing winds, 3 inches of snow and very heavy rain. More than ever, homeless lives will be at risk from Hypothermia.

The Tories continue to turn a blind eye to Homelessness, with an estimated homeless population of around 329,000. And it’s growing. The Conservatives policies of extreme austerity continue to tear the United Kingdom apart. Homeless shelters have less funding than ever before, and poverty levels are the highest they’ve been since the great depression.

Cuts to the education sector have resulted in teachers having to pay for glue sticks and paper out of their own wages. Further Education Colleges are struggling to fully provide A-Level qualifications and Primary Schools across the country are cutting back on enrolment to try and save money.

The Irony of this is, I am currently writing this from a table in the corner of my local Conservative club. My mother works a part-time job here, it was the only she could find, and she still doesn’t bring in enough money to cover our rent or bills. I am surrounded by Tories. On a night where they should be worrying about Homelessness, they are instead pondering what to have for lunch, or how many foxes’s they killed on their latest hunt.

Homelessness continues to be ignored. Numbers are rising, people are dying and yet the government does nothing. Amber Rudd’s DWP continues to set unrealistic requirements for benefits. The NHS is unable to provide comprehensive cover for its patients. All as a result of austerity.

The top 1% of our country owns 99% of the wealth. Tim Martin, CEO and Founder of Weatherspoon’s, pays his workers poverty wages and refuses to admit, discuss it or acknowledge what he’s doing is wrong. Jeff Bezos’ Amazon continues to pay less than 0.01% Tax on profits made in this country. James Dyson has moved his company to Singapore, meaning they no longer pay UK tax.

The issue is, in a world where political correctness and media knowledge take priority over everything, homelessness should have been eradicated years ago. We have moved on to what the Tories consider ‘more pressing issues. This means that, despite all the reminders, they continue to disregard homelessness and poverty entirely. The reality of it is, what the Tories are doing is manslaughter by gross negligence.

The Office for National Statistics reported over 1,200 homeless deaths in 2018, a 100.5% increase from 2017. That’s over double 2017’s statistics. The Conservatives negligence of homeless has become unbearable. It’s time, for our own good, that we rise up against the Tories and prove that homelessness is a pressing issue of the highest order.

A referendum may be needed to solve the Brexit impasse, but not the one #PeoplesVote want.

No deal, May’s deal, Norway plus, and a People’s Vote are all extremely unlikely to command a parliamentary majority before the 29th of March. With all sides doubling down and seemingly unwilling to compromise, the most feasible way out is a second referendum between May’s deal and no deal.

Following Tuesday night’s historic defeat on the EU withdrawal agreement, Theresa May has reached out to opposition parties and factions in parliament, asking to discuss a way forward.

All have obliged besides Jeremy Corbyn, who has refused to talk with Theresa May until she takes the possibility of a no-deal Brexit off of the table. Following Wednesday night, Theresa May has held meetings with leading figures in the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, the Lib Dems, the DUP, and groups of MPs from various factions in the Conservative party, including the ERG and the 20 or so MPs who seem determined to prevent a no-deal Brexit, led by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

While almost all sides have spoken optimistically about the chances of a new agreement being reached, none of them seems willing to compromise at all on the key issues, including the Prime Minister herself.

Despite May’s deal being rejected by an enormous margin of 230 votes, she seems convinced that if she goes back to EU negotiators and acquires some cosmetic changes to the backstop and perhaps more significant changes to the Political Declaration, she will be able to pick off enough Labour MPs to force her deal through the Commons. This is utterly delusional, even if she plans to run down the clock and increase the chances of a no deal. Such an approach may have had a chance of success if she had lost by a smaller margin, however with 116 votes to claw back it only displays complete ignorance.

If May agreed to add remaining in the customs union to her current deal, as the Labour Party would like, it may be able to get through parliament with Labour’s backing. However, May agreeing to this seems improbable at best. Such a deal would split the Conservative party and would risk bringing down the government if the hard-line members of the ERG, as well as the DUP, started a no-confidence motion as their last option, which explains why Corbyn remains strongly in support of staying in the Customs Union.

The remaining options are ‘Norway plus’, a ‘managed no deal’, and a second referendum, the question of which is debated.

A ‘managed no deal’ has no chance of getting through parliament, or receiving the government’s backing without the cabinet splitting in two. Although, the possibility of parliamentary deadlock leading to Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal on the 29th of March remains.

While Norway plus would allow the UK to strike free trade deals with countries around the world, providing the other countries in EFTA agreed, it would mean a much closer relationship with the EU than the EU Withdrawal Agreement in almost every aspect, most notably in the freedom of movement between EU citizens and the UK. Hence it would struggle to gain a majority in the Commons, as shown by a Lords amendment on the government pursuing a “Norway-style” relationship with the EU being defeated by 327 to 126 in June.

The chances of a second referendum with the option of remain getting through parliament are similarly low, as almost all Conservatives and all 10 DUP MPs would vote against, whilst the support for a people’s vote among Labour MPs is often overstated. Many, especially those who represent leave-voting constituencies and fear harming their chances of re-election, would vote against.

A second referendum between May’s deal and a no deal, however, would have a much greater likelihood of making its way through parliament, even if the 20-40 Conservative MPs who favour crashing out of the EU on the 29th of March vote against it. It would require an extension of article 50 until July (before the new European Parliament take their seats). However, this would almost certainly be agreed to by the EU and pass through the Commons.

With no-one willing to compromise, parliament is unlikely to agree to any feasible deal. We must let the people decide, whilst respecting the result of the first referendum.

Georgism offers a possible alternative to solve the problems caused by Globalisation

Globalisation is fast becoming an unpopular process amongst the masses. Many ideological groups oppose it as one of the functions of neo-liberalism which produces unfair and unequal economic circumstances whilst showing a disregard for the environment. Whilst many political and economic ideologies have made their thoughts clear on the issue, Georgism may be a lesser known concept that could resolve the damage of Globalisation.

Georgism is an economic ideology with the general premise that states individuals own the wealth they create in its entirety whilst land and its economic value is publicly owned, revenue made from tax on this land then goes back to the people in the form of public investment or universal basic income. Followers of the ideology, therefore, believe the government should attain funds from a Land Value Tax (LVT), rather than unfair and inefficient levies such as Income Tax and VAT.

The claimed benefits of this system include the eradication of monopolies, increased wages that reflect the true cost of labour and the elimination of tax fraud and evasion which costs the economy billions of pounds per year. These issues have all been regularly linked with globalisation since the 20th century.

The definition of ‘land’ in this case is the nature and natural resources of a location. The amount of tax collected is determined by proximity to resources, climate and the level of commerce that takes place in relation to the land. It is important to note that the level of commerce is not referring to the number of goods produced from the land, Georgism does not support taxing capital goods and labour.

Fred Foldvary explains it best with the following examples,

“If a shop at the edge of a city sells 100 shoes per day, and a similar shop in the centre of the city sells 200 shoes per day, with the same amount of labour and capital goods, the land rent will be greater at the centre due to the economies of density,”

By ‘rent’ Foldvary is referring to the profitability of an area. He continues to say,

“Land in which 1,000 lb of grapes can be grown has a higher rent than land in which 500 hundred pounds can be grown, with the same application of labour and capital goods.”

Not only would this reduce the economic inefficiency of our current use of land and the tax system, but it would also have incredibly positive implications for the environment. Pollution would reduce the value of land and its resources and therefore would be financially damaging to society. Georgists propose taxing polluters, as pollution is categorised as an excess cost in the production of goods. The wealth produced from a tax on pollution would go back into public funds and be used to restore the damages caused by the polluters.

Supporters of LVT claim the tax encourages the appropriate use of land, as public revenue requires the efficient and sustainable development of a location. This would reduce deforestation as well as the urban sprawl that plagues most modern cities. This has incredibly damaging effects on the environment by destroying habitats unnecessarily and increasing air pollution due to increased vehicle use.

Of course, the model is not without its critics. If the system was to be implemented there is no answer to how current owners of private land would be compensated for the loss of their property. Critics say landowners would need to be involved in the process of system transition in order to not become victims of it. Convincing landowners to give up their land without decent compensation would be a negotiation process that would make the Brexit talks look easy.

In his reply to criticism of Georgism, Fred Foldvary challenges claims that Georgist principles have never been implemented in full. He uses the example of former German colony Kiaochow in China, a land tax from 1898 to 1914 allowed a massive increase in government revenue and allowed the capital, Tsingtao, to develop from a fishing village into a successful city. Foldvary also refutes claims that high taxes on land have been harmful where implemented, he says to the contrary countries such as Denmark and Japan have utilised a land tax to incredible economic growth.

This is a simple introduction to a complex economic philosophy. If you are interested in the concept I highly recommend reading the works of the Georgism’s namesake, Henry George, as well as Fred Foldvary who provides useful insights into the model. This relatively unknown ideology could be the answer to many of the issues of our modern world.

UK businesses plan mass exodus if Tories allow no-deal Brexit.

The British chambers of commerce have warned that its members are planning a mass exit if May allows no-deal Brexit.

 

Thousands of British companies plan to leave the country should parliament fail to regain control over Brexit. Parliament is entering a crucial week in which MP’s will attempt to regain control over the Government. Their aim? To delay Brexit and prevent no-deal becoming reality. The BBC says that companies who have already undergone relocation are ‘just the tip of the iceberg’. Britain needs to be prepared for another economic crash should the UK leave without a deal. This means lower stock prices, higher inflation and lower wages. This will result in civil unrest and only increase poverty and homelessness.

Theresa May needs to make an urgent decision as to whether or not she will rule out no-deal. Failure to do this will result in an unstable economy. The government needs to puck up its ideas, or we won’t have the Britain we know and love for much longer. We have come full circle, and find ourselves staring into the depths of the 2008 economic crisis again.

Business Minister dares May to sack him over hopeless Brexit policy implications

The Business Minister Richard Harrington, following some comments from Airbus surrounding no deal, has dared the PM to sack him in one of the more unusual comments of the year. The minister was speaking about comments from Airbus’ Chief executive who called the government’s handling of Brexit “a disgrace”.

The MP for Watford who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry & Energy in a statement said:

“I am very happy to be public about it (the consequences of No deal) and very happy if the Prime Minister decides I am not the right person to do the business industry job”

He continued on to say

“A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for our economy, I was delighted to read Airbus’ comments this morning because it is telling it like it is.”

The comments mark clear frustration from a minister about the PM’s plans and the government’s handling of Brexit at this crucial stage.

The comments from Airbus are just another warning from British manufacturing companies about the damage a No Deal Brexit would cause. The planemaker’s chief executive, Tom Enders, said Airbus:

 “will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK”

Airbus employs 14,000 people in the UK.  6,000 jobs at its main wings factory at Broughton in Wales, as well as 3,000 at Filton, near Bristol, where wings are designed and supported. Mr Enders said it was a disgrace that two years after the referendum, businesses are still do not have a plan for the future.

Airbus is not the only company warning about the dangers of No Deal. The CBI have warned against a No Deal Brexit, and Sony have announced that they will transfer their European HQ from the UK to Holland to avoid disruptions caused by Brexit. Appliance makers Dyson also recently announced a relocation of its headquarters to Singapore, from Wiltshire.

Opposition to Brexit from Airbus is hardly new. The company warned of the potential dangers Brexit would cause to its business long before the referendum took place. Last year, the planemakers issued a risk assessment, stating that a No Deal Brexit would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK and its presence in the country all together.

This comes as the Dutch government announced that more than 250 companies are in touch with the Dutch government about relocating to the Netherlands because of Brexit.

Michiel Bakhuizen, a spokesman for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, said: “The number of businesses we are in contact with for a possible arrival is growing. At the start of 2017 it was 80, at the start of 2018 150, and now it’s more than 250.

Adding: “This increase will continue and it’s not strange, because there is great uncertainty at the moment in Britain. And if there is one thing that’s bad for business, it’s uncertainty.”

Cooper amendment to give Parliament control of Brexit

A new bill tabled by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper hopes to secure powers for MPs to extend Article 50 if the Prime Minister fails to get a deal through Parliament by February 26th. It’s backed by former Tory cabinet minister Nick Boles, as well as Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan Labour’s Hillary Benn, chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee.

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Seven times Theresa May should have resigned (but didn’t)

Many years in the future, Theresa May (assuming she’s gone by then) may well be remembered as the greatest British Prime Minister in at least one respect… hanging on to power.

Most Prime Ministers will struggle through a couple of crises/scandals in their time in office, but May – with an enviable track-record of surviving crushing defeats, scandals and resignations – is on course to outdo them all.

So, looking back on the past three years, here are seven times Theresa May should’ve resigned (but didn’t):

 

1. The 2017 Snap Election:

The 2017 election appeared to be the beginning of the (agonisingly drawn out) end for May’s premiership. Armed with a poll bounce giving her a 20+ point lead over Labour in the polls, May made a dramatic U-turn on her promise not to call a snap election – hoping to shore up her majority for the Brexit battles ahead.

Of course, this did not materialise, and in one of the greatest humiliations of British political history, May lost her majority to a resurgent Labour Party. May clung on, negotiating a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP, giving her a wafer-thin majority in parliament.

Desires in her party to avoid another election at all costs and paralysis over which wing of the party a future leader would emerge from, meant May was allowed to stay as caretaker leader for the short term. A year and a half later though, very little has changed in this regard – giving hope to May that she may end up more than a caretaker leader after all.

 

2. The Windrush Scandal:

Windrush was a huge political scandal in April 2018 about the deportation (or threatened deportation) of legal British immigrants, who had arrived mostly from Caribbean countries before 1973.

Although it is difficult to pin the blame for this scandal entirely on a single minister, the scandal has been primarily attributed to the ‘hostile environment’ policy instituted during Theresa May’s time as Home Secretary.

Despite May’s six-year tenure in the job, Amber Rudd (who had replaced May as Home Secretary) took the fall for the scandal and resigned, meaning May could survive another crisis.

 

3. The Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary Both Resigning Within 24 hours:

Following the failed 2017 election gamble, legislating Brexit issues was always going to be difficult for May with her reduced majority. But when her draft plans were revealed at Chequers, they were too much for the two most senior Brexiteers in the cabinet.

After months of speculation, Boris Johnson eventually resigned as foreign secretary, followed by the Brexit secretary David Davis – leaving May to face the fallout of the resignations of two senior cabinet ministers.

Never to be deterred by a career-ending crisis, May quickly replaced the two – presumably hoping to resolve these issues by the time the plan actually had to be voted on.

 

4. Having Essentially the Same Thing Happen Again:

For some Brexiteers the Chequers plan was bad, but as it wasn’t the final agreement with the EU they could hold their noses and continue to work with the government.

When the final EU withdrawal agreement was revealed to the public though, senior Brexiteers Dominic Raab (her replacement Brexit secretary) and Esther McVey (the work and pensions secretary) both resigned in protest.

May responded in the same way as the last time two senior Brexiteers resigned from her cabinet over her deal, she replaced them and moved on.

 

5. A Third of Conservative MPs Voting No Confidence in Her Leadership:

After Chequers and the withdrawal agreement, the Conservative Brexiteers were readying themselves to show their strength by sinking May’s withdrawal agreement when it came to a vote in the commons.

But, at the 11th hour, May (ever the survivor) delayed the vote to avoid defeat. The Brexiteers finally mustered the support needed to trigger a confidence vote in her leadership, which May won by 200 to 117 votes.

Although May won the vote, a third of her own MPs voting against her leadership would’ve been more than enough to sink most Prime Ministers (Thatcher won her confidence vote 204 to 152 but resigned quickly afterwards), but apparently not May.

 

6. The Government Being Found in Contempt of Parliament (for the first time ever):

Number six is, surprisingly, another Brexit crisis.

After failing to release the full legal advice obtained by the government on the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the UK and EU, the House of Commons took the unprecedented move of finding the government in contempt of parliament and forcing the release of the advice.

Facing a humiliating and unprecedented defeat in parliament could well have collapsed a government just years ago. Now it’s just another day in British politics.

 

7. Losing the Vote on Her Flagship Policy with the Biggest Margin of Defeat in History:

So here it is, after two years of bitter infighting, parliamentary battles, drawn out negotiations and last-minute delays, the deal that had come to define the May premiership was finally put before parliament on the 16th January…

And was defeated by a majority of 230 votes. The biggest defeat of a government in modern British political history.

A vote of no confidence has been called in the government by the opposition, but with Tory rebels from across the party confirming their support for May, as well as the DUP, May is almost certain to survive the vote.

If May can survive this devastating defeat, then the only logical conclusion is that she is politically immortal and all efforts to remove her from power are futile. I only hope that in 10 years’ time, when May returns her renegotiated Brexit deal to parliament for the 40th time and she is still expected to resign ‘by the end of next week’, that maybe we can look back on these early years to make some sense of May’s eternal survival and the groundhog day we all now live in.