Tory rebels must take a stand on the meaningful vote

by Hugo Dixon | 10.06.2018

Without a meaningful vote at the end of the Brexit talks, the government could ram through a miserable deal or crash out of the EU with no deal at all. This is the big battle of the week.

MPs will have to consider many important amendments when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday and Wednesday. These include the issue of the Irish border and a customs union.

But the most critical is the one designed to ensure that Parliament gets a meaningful vote at the end of the talks, instead of being bounced into rubber-stamping whatever deal the prime minister manages to clinch or crashing out with no deal at all.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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It is vital MPs now set things up so they have real options. Given that Brexit won’t fulfill the dreams Boris Johnson et al peddled two years ago, the most democratic option will be to ask the people whether they still want Brexit.

The House of Lords’ amendment 19 provides a belt-and-braces approach to ensure this is so. The government’s own amendment largely seeks to neuter this. It has three problems.

  • It doesn’t address the “no deal” scenario. As a result, if the talks collapse, Parliament will struggle to stop what even a leaked government document admits could be a Doomsday scenario.
  • If there is a deal and MPs don’t like it, the government will merely make a “statement” about its plans. MPs won’t have to approve that plan, which could include negotiating a worse deal or crashing out without any.
  • There is no timetable. As a result, the government could drag its feet and bounce Parliament into accepting a miserable deal. There may also not be enough time to pull us back from the precipice if talks break down.

Theresa May’s supporters, including the pro-European former home secretary, Amber Rudd, are telling MPs to rally round her this week. This is a mistake.

Hardline Brexiters are plotting to replacing Theresa May with one of their number as soon as the legislation is passed, according to the Sunday Times. Even if they don’t succeed, they may be able to pull her strings. Either way, MPs who fail to back a meaningful vote will have made it easier for the extremists to wreak havoc.

Tory “mutineers” should have the courage of their convictions, defy the whips and back the House of Lords’ amendment.

2 Responses to “Tory rebels must take a stand on the meaningful vote”

  • The UK is the only Full Member of the EU that has more opt outs than any other member state such as The Euro, Schengen, Area of freedom, security and justice and lastly although not fully, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
    Now, the “Will of the people” has decided to leave and the same will of the people claims that they knew what they were voting for in the Referendum, which is a bit bizarre considering the fact that the government that represents them in 2 years of negotiations still doesn’t have a clue and any resemblance of a plan is made up on a daily basis as it goes along. And here allow me to stay more in the bizarre arena! when Michael Gove in his famous moment of enlightenment come up with the phrase “ We have had enough of Experts” basically he must be feeling at odds with himself now, as he should have had more comprehensive “Expertise” than the people voting for him. If we go back to Membership subject, once the UK joined the EU it played a major role in shaping the future of Europe, they were the ones who initiated many of the Laws which now seems to be rejected yet again by the “Will of The people ” because they want their sovereignty back (which they never lost in the first place!). Finally once they have decided to leave the club they don’t seem to want to obey the rules anymore by wanting the same benefits as when they were in, without paying anything or very little in membership fees. They keep blaming the EU and expect them to devise a plan that accommodates the UK! Surely, if one leaves a club no one should expect to have any say afterwards even though on the way out there have been already some attempts by the UK to suggest to the EU for other countries to join !!! Any person with a minimum of Brain capacity from anywhere around the World would understand that! It is not really rocket science, but if you are a Brexiteer than we must transport ourselves in another dimension in order to understand their UNIQUENESS and EXCEPTIONALISM!!!, Which may could have caused some consternation to Einstein, if he were still alive today!!!

  • Summed up very well Francesco, but of course the UK government was never serious about leaving, it was only ever about patching up a long-standing and bitter Tory Party squabble – which of course is still not resolved. We have been subjected to a particularly nasty right-wing coup.