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Analysis

Could MPs be asked to vote 30 times? No 10 must be joking.

by Luke Lythgoe | 04.01.2019

We’ve already seen Theresa May pull one “meaningful vote” in Parliament on her deal last month. Will she do it again? Even if she doesn’t and loses in less than two weeks, the government could just keep asking MPs to vote again. One Downing Street insider told BuzzFeed News: “If we have to have the vote 30 times, we will.”

Taking MPs to the brink in the way would be reckless and unconscionable. But however close the chaos of a “no deal” Brexit gets, it remains perfectly avoidable. The majority of MPs oppose no deal, and there will be plenty of opportunities for MPs to reject it over coming weeks.

If they do so, the government can’t ignore them. Parliament is sovereign. What’s more, there is a sensible alternative to either the deal or no deal: a People’s Vote and “no Brexit” – as May herself increasingly reminds us.

It’s debatable whether May and her ministers would even allow no deal. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, this week said no deal was “not something that any government should willingly wish on its people”.

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Nevertheless, the government seems intent on weaponising the fear of crashing out. Number 10 is embarking on a media blitz, flooding social media and radio with no-deal warnings. And as the clock ticks down, the government PR machine can increasingly rely on a drumbeat of panicked contingency planning across the country. Take the last 24 hours: plans for 1,000 extra police being deployed to keep the peace in Ireland have emerged; and 150 university leaders have declared that no deal would be “one of the biggest threats” the sector has ever faced.

The government’s strategy is making the huge uncertainty around Brexit worse, with crippling effects across many sectors. Take today’s example of universities: Russell Group institutions have seen a 9% fall in the enrolment of EU postgraduate research students this year, while uncertainty over the research funds contributed by EU schemes is causing leading academics to look overseas.

Brexit anxiety dragged the UK economy almost to a standstill at the end of last year. Uncertainty will continue to hobble UK business investment and depress consumer spending in 2019, according to an FT survey of economists. Meanwhile the costs of contingency planning are spiralling in both private and public sectors. The government has now put aside £4.2 billion to prepare for no deal.

Hopefully, the Downing Street insider was joking when they told BuzzFeed that MPs could be asked to vote multiple times on the prime minister’s miserable deal. Once is enough. Any further delay is dicing with danger. If MPs reject the deal, the government should rapidly break the deadlock by giving the final decision back to the public in a People’s Vote.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

Tags: , Categories: Economy, UK Politics

11 Responses to “Could MPs be asked to vote 30 times? No 10 must be joking.”

  • “One Downing Street insider told BuzzFeed News: “If we have to have the vote 30 times, we will.” So that seems OK to the bufoons we have as a Government.

    Over 700,000 people on a march and countless more all over the place, have been saying for months that they want to have a second vote. But that is not acceptable to the fools we have a a government.

  • It’s odd how nobody mentions the £39 billion saved by leaving straight away. This more than pays for no deal. We will also save all future contributions which gives £10 bill or more net a year. We can also charge whatever tariffs we want and make whatever trade deals we want. I would declare a free trade zone provided imports meet our standards which allows the rest of the world to seriously undercut the EU which is a protectionist racket, especially the CAP which subsidises lazy, work shy farmers across EU mainland members like France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc. It does nothing for UK farming which is incredibly well organised and efficient. Many other nations across Africa, Asia, South America etc. would be falling over themselves to offer food and drink at well below EU protectionist rates.

  • If only. Shame it breaks all the WTO rules and bankrupts all our farmers. But don’t let facts stand in the way of a good fantasy.

  • @ Rob,
    Blimey, I wouldn’t want to go out for dinner with you. You’d be out in the car park before the waiter had got anywhere near our table with the bill.
    The 39 billion is for obligations we are signed up to. Even though its the ultimate in ironies, Mr Farage’s EU pension is one such obligation. If we were to renege on paying what we’ve signed up to, the UK post Brexit, would be seen as very dodgy, as in Arthur Daily dodgy. As for a future trade deal with the EU, they would certainly make sure it was the worst possible.

  • The Government’s strategy is absolutely contemptuous.
    May would rather see this country in ruins than have ‘HER deal’ rejected.
    Her vanity, stubbornness and hubris mark her down as the worst Prime minister this country has ever had.

  • Rob, the 39 billion is an outstanding debt and if not paid will have a significant impact on Britain’s credit rating. And how do you think will potential future trading partners will react to that.

    Further you call continental farmers a lot of things that are absolutely nonsense. I wonder if the Daily express is your source of information.

  • Yeah Rob, we can use the £39 billion to put towards the £42 billion contingency plan for leaving without a deal. Makes sense mate.

  • The only sensible move is to withdraw Article 50 immediately. It is a perfectly legal move and would allow all sides in Westminster to work on some sort of solution.
    Mistakes have been made right from the start: Cameron calling an unnecessary referendum to satify his right-wingers; insufficient information provided to voters on the impliactions of Brexit; the in/out option; the inefficient handling by the Tory government of every single aspect of Brexit; the PM giving responsibility for Brexit negotiations to the, frankly, incompetent; her own self-importance in signing Article 50 before it was absolutely necessary; her determination to avoid involving any other party in Westminster in negotiations – even before Article 50 was signed; her deluded belief that the other EU countries would be prepared to keep on negotiating.
    I could go on but there is just one basic fact – that the whole brexit business is massively damaging to the ordinary people of this country. We, the 99% are the ones who will suffer – not the 1%.

  • MPs voted for the referendum
    MPs voted to trigger Article 50
    MPs voted to give Parliament a meaningful voice
    Now the debate starts in earnest and MPs have a duty to deliver
    The electorate will not forgive MPs who do not support the deal which is on the table
    Yes, it is a compromise, less than perfect and work in progress but it is the only and therefore best deal available
    Have the debate and then get it over the line
    A further referendum or a General Election is not the answer required
    A resounding endorsement of the only deal available is

  • @AnthonyLowe
    A choice between the negotiated deal and no-deal is not meaningful and the electorate will not forgive this government if no-deal is the result. There are many other deals that could be agreed with the EU if this government’s red lines are changed.
    If Parliament allows a No-Deal result, there will be many more than 750,000 protesting on the streets of Btitain.