With May facing no confidence from her own party – Could a Labour government emerge from this mess?

Well, it finally happened. After a year of speculation about the always-just-below-48 letters, Conservative Party chairman Graham Brady has received the number required to trigger a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister, set for Wednesday evening and to be announced after 9pm.

Her fate is undetermined, but – depending on the result – this could have a real impact on the prospect of a Labour government in the immediate future.

If May loses:

If May loses the confidence vote a Conservative Party leadership election will be initiated. Expect a Brexiteer verses a born-again Brexiteer (formerly remain) final showdown.

This leadership election would tear the Conservative Party apart, pouring salt on the gaping wound of leave vs remain in the party. The resulting damage would make an election an unlikely risk but would seriously wound the party.

A victory by a true Brexiteer (the likely scenario) has potential to bring down the party, as some Conservative MPs have reportedly privately or publicly voiced desires to resign from the party under a Boris Johnson premiership – Anna Soubry being one. It is unlikely there would be enough of these newly independent MPs to support a Labour minority government, but the government’s majority would be reduced and several remaining Conservative remainers would likely turn into prolific backbench rebels if the party sought a hard Brexit.

This also raises the question of which sort of Brexit is actually acceptable for parliament. The withdrawal-agreement would almost certainly be scrapped and Article-50 extended to allow time for re-negotiation. A Canada-style deal favoured by Brexiteers is probably undeliverable due to the small but stubborn group of Tory remainers, while supporters of a Norway-style deal are unlikely to reach leadership positions.

Assuming a Canada-deal supporter is elected party leader. It is therefore not too much of a stretch to imagine them going to the country in an election to overcome parliamentary gridlock.

Equally, the new Prime Minister could experience a honeymoon period poll bounce – as May did – and opt for an election. But memories of the previous attempt make a positive move towards an election almost unthinkable, it will have to be a desperate last-resort measure.

  • Summary – Election unlikely but not impossible, would be a last resort for a new struggling government. Labour would likely win any election in this scenario.

If May wins:

May winning the vote is probably the outcome Labour figures should be hoping for and the most likely scenario.

If May wins the confidence vote party rules state Tory MPs will be unable to challenge her again for 12 months. Presumably this will be unacceptable to hard Brexiteers who will have lost their last resort measure, and constant threat, of a devastating confidence vote.

Labour have recently faced unfair criticism from the SNP and Liberal Democrats for failing to initiate a no confidence vote in the government (which they themselves could initiate at any time). Labour’s reasoning is to wait for the most impactful time to initiate this vote – which would have been Tuesday night when the withdrawal agreement was set to be defeated.

With a confidence vote in May initiated by her own party shortly afterwards, clearly waiting was the correct move. If May survives the vote on her leadership, it is still highly unlikely she will be able to pass the withdrawal agreement. When she loses this vote as well, then DUP and Conservative rebels would have no way to remove her other than supporting a no confidence motion in the government. Another year of May’s leadership could be too much for some ERG figures to bear, but I would expect the DUP to be the real threat to the government in this scenario.

  • Summary – Election more likely, becomes the only way to overcome gridlock and remove May. Labour win likely against increasingly weak and unpopular May.

May: ‘I will contest that vote’

Earlier today it was confirmed that a vote of no confidence had been filed against the Prime Minister, Theresa May by backbench members of the Conservative Party.

Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee, received at least 48 letters which has triggered a vote of no confidence – scheduled to happen later today.

In a statement outside Number 10, Theresa May stressed that she will ‘contest that vote’. She claimed that the vote will only benefit ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ and ‘John McDonnell’ – amidst fears of a General Election.

Widespread speculation has engulfed the mainstream media, with opinions being deeply divided. Critics claim that she is set for a major defeat, whilst supporters are content that she will remain on as Prime Minister.

Regardless, if she obtains only a minor victory she may decide to step down as Prime Minister – as was done after Margaret Thatcher failed to win an outright majority in the first round of voting in 1990.

Members of the Cabinet have come out in full support of the Prime Minister, in an attempt to save her from tonight’s challenge. Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, tweeted: ‘I fully support the Prime Minister’.

Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, has also offered his support to Theresa May. He claimed that being Prime Minister is the ‘most difficult job imaginable right now’ and feels that the contest is ill-timed and inappropriate.

However, prominent Brexiteers have voiced their opposition to the Prime Minister, including Bernard Jenkin MP. He claims that it is possible to change leader during turbulent times, as this occurred during the Second World War.

Several prominent individuals have failed to rule out a leadership bid, sparking widespread speculation that the United Kingdom could soon have a new Prime Minister.

More to follow..

The end to the Brexit deadlock lies in a ‘People’s Vote’

The UK is in desperate need of a ‘People’s Vote’; not to overturn the result, nor to betray democracy, but to establish the UK’s future direction. Over the course of three years, Parliament has proven it is no longer the beacon of democracy; the beating heart of British politics that has, until now, unfalteringly symbolised the strength of our polity for the last 800 years. Now, it is has become the pinnacle of gridlock, trapped in an oppressive and partisan bind; unable to agree on the best course for the British public.

But perhaps the most fervent disarray lies at the heart of the executive. Born out of a tawdry deal between the Conservatives and Democratic Unionist Party, the current government has become something of a lame duck. Incapable of reaching consensus and putting partisan bickering before the national interest, the Prime Minister, in negotiating her flawed deal, has sold the future of our country down the river. Indeed, there is no deader horse in the realm than the deal brokered by Theresa May. Flogged and flogged again, it expired a third time on the floor of the House of Commons- characterising the disarray that has engulfed politics for the last three years.

This is why our representatives should embrace a People’s Vote; to delegate the power of determining the future of this country to the very people who have to live it. This is not – to quote the hegemonic vernacular – ‘a betrayal’, but rather an opportunity of the demos to take back control their destiny. But as you would expect, the outlines of the ‘Brexit betrayal’ myth have already been drawn. It’s victim? The people who voted on a summer’s day in 2016 for a supposedly simple, clear desire – leave but who, they claim, were betrayed by the ‘liberal elite’, by universities, by independent analyses, by Brussels, by corporations, by the ‘dark’ forces who ‘conspired’ against those who voted in good faith.

That’s the ‘stab-in-the-back’ mantra that has been lovingly nurtured as a standard response to any utterance of a second referendum. It will spread, mutate and poison our discourse. We cannot allow this to occur. We must move on with putting the national interest first.

Even today we face a terrifying cliff-edge, with 11pm on 31st October marking the day of destiny. At that precise hour, Britain will, unless otherwise agreed, crash out of the EU with no deal- a scenario those charged with stewarding the economy, industry and our safety warn will be catastrophic. The only way to avoid that fate is for MPs to agree on something else, and fast. But, the fact is, they are incapable. But even if they pull something off, Britain will have to seek a further extension of Article 50 from an increasingly exasperated EU27. Undoubtedly, the mood in those EU capitals is hardening, as Brexit has drained any reciprocal goodwill towards the UK.

Whilst the Brexit saga has compounded uncertainty, Theresa May has confirmed one important thing: that the government is contemptuous of the people, our constitution and our economy. It is clear that we are not, to quote the PM, “building a Britain fit for the future”. Rather, we are forging a future based on blatant inaccuracies- one that quite reasonably should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

The principal reason, then, we face such political stagnation lies in the very Referendum itself which, with the Electoral Commission’s recent findings into Vote Leave, casts doubt over the legitimacy of the said vote. Indeed, we voted with no indication of the actual facts! Regardless of whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’, the months since the vote has demonstrated what an incomprehensible and cost-prohibitive challenge Brexit is to deliver (in costing the UK around £500 million a week – according to reports – we will lose more than we were allegedly told we would save. Ironically, it would seem under the current trajectory we won’t be able to cover the cost of the red bus, let alone the £350 million towards the NHS printed on the side). This reaffirms, then, why the simple, binary question put to the electorate in the 2016 Referendum could never be heralded as the final word on the matter.

Our membership of the EU was never a simple ‘yes’/’no’ choice- this has been shown in the endless discussions surrounding membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union. People may say ‘we had a referendum’- yes we did, but one that eroded the constitutional significance of the issue of EU membership by overlooking our various treaty obligations when shoehorning the question into an absurdly simplistic question.

What, in reality, should have appeared on the ballot in 2016 was a series of questions: do you want to leave the EU as a whole? Would you like to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union? This was not what happened and is why we need a fresh vote. This is essential because we only began to address the questions above after June 2016. Not only did we not know the answers to these questions, but vastly inaccurate information hijacked the referendum.

But of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If anything, a second referendum will address blatant constitutional breaches which, if left unchallenged, will demonstrate that any government can subvert the very political edifice on which our country relies. The government’s standard response is ‘The British people have voted to leave the EU and the government respect that decision”.

Yet, the government themselves do not know the outcome of that decision, so how can they possible respect it? To quote Theresa May: “We don’t know what the outcome will be”. Crucially, this is because the referendum was advisory, not conclusive. Hence, legally, the vote breaches Article 50 (1), as in order for Article 50 to be triggered a binding vote must be issued. Politicians need to remember, this was not simply achievable by simply by holding a botched vote.

The June 2016 referendum started a meaningful national debate about EU membership for the first time in at least a generation. This debate should have happened many years ago, but it is happening now. And only once this debate is over, once we have heard everything we need to hear about what EU membership means, should the electorate then decide whether they support it or not. We have witnessed the so-called parliamentary ‘experts’ unable to decide what’s best for our country, so let those who are most adept make that decision- the people.

Liberal Democrats will support no confidence vote if Corbyn calls one

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, told MPs that the Prime Minister has lost all authority and the Lib Dems will support a no confidence vote if Jeremy Corbyn calls one.

This comes after the Prime Minister formally delayed the final vote on her Brexit deal after continued opposition from Tory rebels.

Speaking in the commons this afternoon, Theresa May told MPs it was clear her deal would be rejected “by a significant margin” due to concerns over the Irish backstop. The vote will now be deferred, and no information was given on when the vote would take place.

MPs were due to vote on May’s unpopular Brexit plan tomorrow but after strong opposition, from all corners of the Commons, including up to 100 Tory MPs, May has been forced to postpone.

The Prime Minister will now return to Brussels for talks with the EU to gain assurances over the backstop issue, to the disdain of a packed and rowdy House of Commons.

Rumours had been circulated that May could postpone the vote, but several cabinet ministers denied this and over the weekend number 10 confirmed a vote would take on Tuesday. Reports say the prime minister organised an impromptu phone conference with cabinet colleagues this morning, and finally concluded that she would not be able to push through a vote.

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn gave an impassioned reply to the Prime Minister and reignited calls for her to step down, he said: “This is an extremely serious and unprecedented situation. The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray.”

This is a huge blow to May as any delay gives her less time to ensure all legislation is implemented before the March deadline. Though, there has been some concern from MPs who do not believe the Prime Minister has the authority to delay a commons vote.

James Duddridge, MP for Southend and Rochford said: “The PM does not get to pull a vote. The House will have to vote to pull a vote. I will oppose. We need to see this deal off once and for all.”

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, told MPs he is in favour of a vote to decide whether the Prime Minister can delay the meaningful vote.

Theresa May calls off Brexit vote

The Prime Minister has delayed the final vote on her Brexit deal after continued opposition from Tory rebels.

MPs were due to vote on May’s unpopular Brexit plan tomorrow but after strong opposition, from all corners of the Commons, including up to 100 Tory MPs, May has been forced to postpone. The Prime Minister is due to give an oral statement to the House of Commons on Brexit developments at 3:30PM, followed immediately by a statement from the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom.

Rumours had been circulated that May could postpone the vote, but several cabinet ministers denied this and over the weekend number 10 confirmed a vote would take on Tuesday. Reports say the prime minister organised an impromptu phone conference with cabinet colleagues this morning, and finally concluded that she would not be able to push through a vote.

This is a huge blow to May as any delay gives her less time to ensure all legislation is implemented before the March deadline. Though, there has been some concern from MPs who do not believe the Prime Minister has the authority to delay a commons vote.

James Duddridge, MP for Southend and Rochford, said: “The PM does not get to pull a vote. The House will have to vote to pull a vote. I will oppose. We need to see this deal off once and for all.”

 

BREAKING: Far-Right Leading Brexit March in London

Roads are set to be closed in central London, in preparation for a march led by Brexiteers – dubbed the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’. The Metropolitan Police are also preparing to close local bars and pubs in an attempt to minimise potential disorder in central London.

Tommy Robinson, prominent supporter of the demonstration, issued a warning to the Prime Minister. He said: ‘Revolution is coming’ and encouraged the Prime Minister to ‘take note’ of the frustration across the United Kingdom – with regards to the alleged betrayal of Brexit.

Supporters have claimed that their movement is comparable to the ongoing social upheaval in France. But, from the comments posted online it appears that their frustration does not focus on austerity and poverty in the United Kingdom – which are the primary concerns of the gilet jaunes in France.

One man wrote: ‘I would rather die on my feet fighting, than on my knees bowing down to the EU and Islam’. These examples of far-right rhetoric have increasingly come under intense criticism, with many planning to oppose the march later today.

A counter-demonstration has also been arranged, with many distancing themselves from the rhetoric espoused by Tommy Robinson and UKIP. The counter-demonstration has attracted the support of prominent individuals, including John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor.

Mr. McDonnell said: ‘A newly energised, well-funded network of hate is emerging, from Steve Bannon in the US to the former EDL [English Defence League] leader Tommy Robinson at home, and it threatens the very fabric of our nation. The Labour movement must be front and centre in opposing them’.

Laura Parker, National Coordinator for Momentum, said in a statement that: ‘I think that the threat from the far right is now obviously so huge, however, that there has to be a peaceful mobilisation by pretty much everybody, from trade unions to party members and others.’

Owen Jones, campaigner and supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, has been rallying support for the counter-demonstration which he is also set to attend later today, details of which can be found here.

Updates will follow throughout the day..

Comment from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

Divisive rhetoric is continuing to disseminate throughout the United Kingdom. There are growing calls for a ‘People’s Vote’, but these calls have angered some of those who voted ‘Leave’ in the 2016 Referendum.

It is essential that these divisions are healed, if not we can expect more frustration from members of the public – in the form of demonstrations.

Regardless, it appears that the current proposals outlined by Theresa May have caused widespread anger throughout the country and these proposals are set to be rejected by the House of Commons on Tuesday.

May: Reject my deal and face ‘uncharted waters’

Theresa May has used an interview with the Mail on Sunday to plead with rebels in the Conservative Party. Mrs. May claims that if they fail to support her deal, then they will pave the way for a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Senior members of her party have been urging the Prime Minister to reopen negotiations with Brussels – as some estimates have suggested that current proposals will be defeated in the House of Commons.

Mrs. May remains adamant that her proposals have the full support of her Cabinet. ‘I think we all recognise that this is a good deal,’ she said.

If her deal is rejected and a vote of no confidence is triggered, then this will be the first time parliament has sat over Christmas since 1656 – during the Cromwellian Interregnum.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, the Prime Minister condemned those attempting to ‘frustrate’ and ‘overturn’ Brexit – she claimed ‘that’s not right.’

Theresa May further claimed that this process is being manipulated and exploited by the Labour Party. She stated: ‘The Labour Party see this as a way of trying to engineer a General Election.’

However, the opposition maintains that the current proposals are not in the interest of the country – hence will oppose the deal on Tuesday.

Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary, has made it clear that his party would support a deal, as long as it conforms to his six tests – which were outlined earlier in 2018.

Comment from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

Theresa May has reverted back to the tactics exploited in the past – scaremongering. She has issued an ultimatum to those rebels within her party – support me, or face a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

This is a desperate appeal for support, as the vote to accept or reject her deal looms closer. Currently, it appears that the deal will be rejected by the House of Commons.

UK Government Blocks SNP Paying Settled Status Fees For Public Sector Workers

Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of SNP has stated that the UK Government will not allow Holyrood ministers to pay the £65 settlement status fees for European citizens who are working in Scotland’s public services.

The First Minister said at the Health and Social Care Scotland conference in Glasgow that the UK Conservative Government will not allow third-party payments, which forces EU citizens to pay the fee upfront. This comes as a surprise as the First Minister has already promised her government would cover the cost for EU public-sector and NHS workers living in Scotland.

Circa 13,000 EU nationals currently work in the health and social care sector in Scotland. However, reports have indicated that there is already a drop in job applications for the health sector.

The Home Office spokesman stated: “The EU Settlement Scheme will make it simple and straightforward for EU citizens to get the status they need”.

Editor’s final comment- Heidi Boahen

This hostile environment created by Theresa May herself and her party have put many European citizens living in the UK in fear. It almost seems as if the current Government wants to purposely put barriers in place which consequently forces Europeans to leave the UK. We are already seeing a number of Europeans leave the UK and it is no surprise as new policies do not seem welcoming. Nurses, Doctors and other NHS staffs should be valued and protected at all times. It is simply unfair for Europeans who have lived in the UK for a long time to have to pay a fee to prove their right to be in this country. As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it has to shift their focus on uniting the United Kingdom and not segregate the British nation further with hostile policies.

Liberal Democrat MP resigns Party Whip due to “irreconcilable differences” over Brexit Vote

The Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, Stephen Lloyd, has announced he is resigning the Party Whip, citing that he has “irreconcilable differences” with the Lib Dems intentions to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Bill.

The MP for a pro-leave constituency that voted 57% to leave in the 2016 Referendum, Lloyd had previously stated that he “will not be bullied” into voting against the deal, promising to keep his “clear promise” to his constituents that he accepts the Brexit result, a position that is at odds with the Liberal Democrats, who are the most prominent Pro-EU party in the United Kingdom and have openly campaigned for a second referendum.

Mr Lloyd has promised that he will “remain a member” of the Liberal Democrats and support them in Parliament, however he will now sit as an independent. Over 70 Lib Dems, including councillors and activists, openly called for him to have the whip removed should he vote for the deal.