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Analysis

PM’s vote on half the deal is ultimate blindfold Brexit

by Jenny Sterne | 29.03.2019

Having already failed twice to pass her Brexit deal through Parliament, today Theresa May will try and get MPs’ approval for just half of it. The Commons will vote only on the Withdrawal Agreement, the legally binding “divorce” deal that takes us out of the EU – and includes the controversial Irish border backstop.

This means asking MPs to approve our terms of departure from the EU without even the faintest clue about our eventual destination. It’s the most blindfold Brexit possible. It’s also a desperate attempt to get the Withdrawal Agreement supported today – even though the vote doesn’t actually ratify the agreement in law – so the prime minister’s preferred May 22 extension deadline doesn’t expire at midnight.

By splitting the deal in two the government are removing any indication of what our future relationship with the EU will look like. The Political Declaration, which outlines proposals for a future relationship with the EU, will not even be considered. Up to now a major criticism of the deal has been how vague it is on the future – now the government proposes to abandon even that.

The government know there isn’t a form of Brexit that delivers on the promises they have made, and avoids lasting damage to our economy. So, they are now proposing this ultimate blindfold Brexit in which the UK would be going on a voyage into the unknown. And now that May has promised to resign once her deal is passed, the likelihood is that the UK’s immediate future will be in the hands of the right wing of her party.

So far, however, it looks like MPs – including the DUP – have not been fooled by these antics from a government trying every trick in the book to force its broken Brexit deal through Parliament. It is important that opponents of May’s deal keep up the pressure and ensure politicians don’t buckle.

The Labour leadership have made clear they would never vote for this, and any MP who cares about responsible government and the national interest or the future of jobs and public services in their constituencies should not either.

The prime minister is, unsurprisingly, backtracking on pledges she made repeatedly that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration “come as a package”. It was even outlined in the Conservative party manifesto 2017: “We believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside our withdrawal”.

That’s not to mention the broken promise – made over 100 times by May – that we would be leaving today, March 29 2019. The reason we aren’t is simple: there is no Brexit deal that can deliver on the prime minister’s red lines or the promises of 2016. Nothing can result in anything other than real costs to our economy or to our sovereignty, or end the chaos of endless negotiations and national humiliation. It is telling that today, on “Brexit Day”, MPs will instead be voting on a deal that offers no clarity at all about what Brexit means for the future of this country after two years of negotiations.

Even if MPs vote for the Withdrawal Agreement today none of the legal conditions for the ratification of the agreement under the EU Withdrawal Act will have been met and the threat of a no deal crash out would remain. A vote for the government today does nothing to bring certainty but would only add to the chaos.

If MPs reject the government’s latest cynical efforts, they then need to find a real way out of this mess. That takes time, and will need a longer extension from the EU. To get that there needs to be a clear sense of purpose and a willingness to move forward. And ultimately, the only way to break the deadlock is to put a final Brexit deal back to the people.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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Edited by Luke Lythgoe

2 Responses to “PM’s vote on half the deal is ultimate blindfold Brexit”

  • Leave means leave. Buy nothing from any country within the eu dictatorship*. As a company we have transferred all purchases to outside eu countries. Better services better prices better quality and now trading with companies not under the eu protection racket.
    More are following daily, I know of one MAJOR german company who are days from going bust as they lose UK business to business outside the eu. They now get what they deserve.

  • Phil,
    If the Leave without a deal petition numbers are anything to go by, about 1% of the population actually agree with you. Sure, us leaving the EU will hurt countries within it, but it will hurt us an awful lot more. Go produce some hard data to demonstrate how great in will be; you would be at odds with even the Governments own forecasts in their Impact Reports, which they only released at all because they were at risk in being in contempt of Parliament.