Theresa May continues to lose control of Brexit

In the latest maneuvering over Brexit in the British parliament, the MPs voted by a margin of 329 to 302 to seize control of the agenda and vote on a series of ‘indicative’ measures on Wednesday that would tell the government what are the things that it can support. This measure was in direct defiance of the government which normally controls the parliamentary agenda and 29 Conservative MPS voted for this measure, defying the government whip.

And because I cannot get enough of Speaker Bercow announcing results, here he is doing so again.

This is the latest indicator of prime minister Theresa May’s ineffectiveness. While she has indicated that she does not have the votes to pass her deal the third time around, she is clearly annoyed by being further sidelined and is not committing to pushing for the results of the indicative votes either.

The prime minister had earlier declined to say whether she would abide by the outcome of a process of “indicative votes”.

The government issued a punchy statement after the amendment passed, warning that it “upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future”.

The prime minister earlier announced that she did not yet have the support to justify holding a third meaningful vote on her deal, but insisted she would not hand parliament a “blank cheque” to decide what happened next.

The implications of this move are discussed in this article.

On Wednesday, MPs will hold a series of votes on a variety of possible Brexit solutions, for example leaving with May’s deal; leaving with membership of a customs union and/or single market; a no-deal departure; a second referendum. The various possible options and the form of voting are yet to be confirmed.

Ardent Brexiteers think that this parliamentary move is a precursor to scuttling Brexit altogether.

It is not clear that voting on piecemeal elements of a complex process like Brexit will produce anything workable in the end. It seems to assume that the deal can be split into independent components and then those that pass can be stitched together to make a workable whole. But it is also possible that the passed elements could be mutually contradictory.

Meanwhile over a million people marched in London on Saturday urging the UK to stay in Europe. Of the many amusing posters and placards on display, I particularly liked this one.

It reminded me of the upper class twits that Monty Python loved to lampoon.

Faux journalist Jonathan Pie has another segment where he blames the current mess on the government breaking an implicit social contract. (Language advisory)


  1. sonofrojblake says

    Annoyingly the indicative vote list seems to have left off the most obvious, sensible and simplest option: revoke Article 50, cancel Brexit, apologise and never speak of it again.

    The fundamental problem is that we had a vote in 2016. 16 million people voted for exactly the same easily explained, easily identifiable thing: Remain. 17 million people voted for what it has now become apparent were about 17 million different things: no deal, “managed” no deal, WTO rules, £350m a week for the NHS, “the easiest trade deal ever”, the backstop, May’s deal, customs union, free movement, no free movement, Canada-plus, Norway-plus, Switzerland-minus(?), and of course the ever popular “send ’em back where they came from”. None of these things were on the ballot paper of course.

    And the sixteen million would really like to just get what they voted for, but the seventeen million each, individually, want what they each, individually voted for, but when the 16m ask what it is all you get back is a cacophony of self-contradictory babble.

    And again and again T. May prevaricates, because to do almost anything else would lead to the almost certain destruction of her party -- and scandalously she places the unity of the Conservative Party above the good of the country every single time, even as they demand a date for her resignation as PM.

  2. blf says

    Annoyingly the indicative vote list seems to have left off the most obvious, sensible and simplest option: revoke Article 50, cancel Brexit, apologise and never speak of it again.

    Yes. The closest to that was option 5, “Revoke article 50 two days before Britain would leave the EU without a deal”.

    That notorious “£350m a week extra for the NHS” so annoyed David Norgrove, the Chair of the UKNKofE† Statistics Authority, he complained about it (PDF).

      † N.Korea of Europe — a nuclear-armed private estate run by and for a small group of paranoid authoritarians who feast, boast, lie continuously, and are both unable and unwilling to care about other people.

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