Making Progress

Well, of a sort.

Theresa May has once again been shot down by Parliament over Brexit, this time by a mere 149 votes instead of 230, so, umm… better?

MPs ignore May’s pleas and defeat her Brexit deal by 149 votes
by Heather Stewart, The Guardian
Tue 12 Mar 2019

Theresa May has suffered a second humiliating defeat on her Brexit deal, as MPs rejected the last-minute reassurances she won from the EU27 on Monday and voted it down by a crushing majority of 149.

With just 17 days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, MPs ignored the prime minister’s pleas to “get the deal done”, after the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) said it could not support the agreement.

The prime minister immediately gave a statement, saying she was “profoundly disappointed” that her deal had been rejected again.

She said the government would table a motion, so that MPs can debate on Wednesday whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal on 29 March, and that she would offer her MPs a free vote on that decision.

There will then be another vote on Thursday, on whether to request an extension to article 50.

But May insisted: “Voting against leaving without a deal, and for an extension, does not solve the problems we face. The EU will want to know what use we want to make of that extension. The house will have to answer that question.”

With her voice cracked and fading, the prime minister had earlier pleaded with the House of Commons: “This is the moment and this is the time – time for us to come together, back this motion and get the deal done. Because only then can we can get on with what we need to do, what we were sent here to do.”

Some Conservatives who rejected the deal in January, when May lost by a record majority of 230, did switch sides; many feared Brexit would be delayed or reversed if they didn’t support the agreement.

But most Labour MPs trooped through the voting lobbies with the DUP, the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG), and remain-supporting Tories, to sink the deal.

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would now press for a softer Brexit. “I believe there is a majority in this house for the sort of sensible, credible and negotiable deal that Labour has set out. I look forward to parliament taking back control so that we can succeed where this government has so blatantly failed,” he said.

Earlier, the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, had called on his colleagues to treat the vote as a “political judgment”, after his much-anticipated legal advice offered little comfort to those concerned about the backstop.

In his statement, he suggested the changes reduced the risk of the UK being trapped indefinitely in the Northern Ireland backstop – but did not eliminate it.

Cox’s verdict was echoed in a statement published by a self-styled “star chamber” of leave-supporting lawyers, assembled by the ERG and including the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

They said the changes offered only “faint and remote prospects of escaping” from the backstop, and “do not materially change the position the UK would find itself in if it were to ratify the withdrawal agreement”.

Britain really needs to dump May, now, in almost the same way we need to dump our Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio. Her leadership and policies have demonstrably failed. This is supposed to be easier in a Parliamentary system yet she keeps hanging on because Tories are wary of the verdict of the voters and are seeking to delay it any way possible.

Throw the bums out. All of them.