Losing With A Stiff Upper Lip

Apparently Theresa May’s strategy is to let the clock go “tick, tick, tick” until the Parliament is forced either to accept her terrible plan, which has been shot down yet again by an embarrassing margin in a vote last night, or accept a “No Deal” Brexit.

What’s really just as, if not more, likely to happen is her Government will fall and Snap Elections called or Parliment votes to ask the EU for an extension after which her Government will fall and Snap Elections are called.

It’s a win, win except that Jeremy Corbyn has not exactly covered himself in glory. He’s advocating more concessions to the EU which May will not and can not grant because of her ERG and DUP Freedom Caucus Wingnuts (Softer Brexit), instead of committing to a Second Referendum which is what he should be doing.

I don’t know why having a Second Referendum would be such an affront to Democracy and the Democratic Process anyway.

Theresa May defeated on Brexit again as ERG Tories abstain
By Rowena Mason, Jessica Elgot, and Daniel Boffey, The Guardian
Thu 14 Feb 2019

Theresa May has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of hardline Eurosceptics, plunging her hopes of uniting the Conservatives around a renegotiated Brexit deal into chaos.

The prime minister failed to win support for her EU strategy after the European Research Group (ERG), led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, abstained on a government motion because it appeared to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

The defeat marks the end of a temporary truce over Brexit among Conservative MPs, who had voted last month in favour of May’s strategy if she could obtain some concessions from Brussels on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

The prime minister was not present for the House of Commons defeat, by 303 votes to 258, in which she again lost control of her party in the crucial final weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU on 29 March.

In Brussels, diplomats said the result confirmed that the prime minister was incapable of commanding the support of her party on key votes, and that she needed to work cross-party. “No one can take any good from this,” said one diplomat.

The vote is not binding but it appeared to be a show of strength by around 60 MPs in the ERG, which included Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary; Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary; and Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister. A small number of pro-EU MPs also refused to back the motion.

Senior figures in the ERG used the result to increase pressure on the government to adopt the so-called Malthouse compromise – a proposal to use unspecified technology to avoid customs checks at the Irish border – which the EU appears likely to reject. Many in the ERG would be equally happy to see a no-deal Brexit.

No 10 played down the significance of the vote and insisted that May understood the concerns of the ERG. However, that appeared only to infuriate many remain-supporting Tories who are determined to block a no-deal Brexit.

Nick Boles, a former government minister, said the vote should be a wake-up call to May that she cannot rely on the ERG’s support.

“Maybe, just maybe, the penny will now drop with prime minister and her chief whip that the hardliners in the ERG want a no-deal Brexit and will stop at nothing to get it,” he said. “Responsible MPs of all parties must come together on 27 and 28 March and stop them.”

In an escalation of tensions, Richard Harrington, one of May’s business ministers, even suggested MPs in the ERG should join Ukip.

“The prime minister has done a pretty good job of standing up to them up till now, but they were drinking champagne to celebrate her losing her deal and I regard that as being treachery,” he told the House magazine.

“I read that Nigel Farage is setting up a new party called ‘Brexit’ and if I were them I’d be looking at that, because that seems to reflect their views more than the Conservative party does. They should read carefully what that party’s got to offer, because in my view they’re not Conservatives.

“There are people who are very solid and stringent in their views and if I were they I would be looking at a party that seems designed for them – Nigel Farage’s party.”

Labour sources said panicking Conservative whips had discussed the possibility with them of accepting a Labour motion and voting with the opposition in order to avoid an embarrassing defeat. Ultimately, however, they decided to accept a humiliating loss rather than appear to join forces with the opposition.

Labour also suffered a split as 41 backbench rebels voted with the SNP to delay Brexit. Those defying the party whip included Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, David Lammy, Luciana Berger and Margaret Hodge. They were joined by two pro-EU Conservatives – Ken Clarke and Sarah Wollaston.

Keep Calm. Carry On.