I’m not expecting a second referendum on Brexit — at least, under Theresa May’s leadership. It’s the only thing I still believe her on.
I don’t think she wants to deliver a real Brexit, but I do believe she wants to deliver a compromise Brexit without a second referendum. That’s why the news of a general election in a few months makes more sense to me.
Today it was reported that the Prime Minister is being urged by senior ministers to face down the rebels in her party who are threatening to bring down the government to stop us leaving the European Union without a deal. If May’s deal isn’t passed in Parliament on the 15th, and it doesn’t look like it will, then she will be faced with having to leave the EU without a deal or even extending Article 50. But the threat of the Finance Bill being amended to stop funds being allocated for No Deal Measures means that No Deal is pretty much off the cards.
The way around it? A general election whereby new Tory candidates can be chosen and the voters given an option to vote for a Tory government that would implement a No Deal Brexit. The catch? It would be held in April, just days after we are due to leave the EU.
It’s pretty plausible that this could really happen. More than a dozen Tory MPs have said that they will back a no-confidence vote in the government and force a general election if Theresa May tries to leave without an agreement. This is where it gets interesting, though – Brexiteers are also calling for a general election in an attempt at forcing No Deal. It’s a really interesting tactic.
It works like this:
Brexiteers would force a general election and allow the Prime Minister to use her discretion and set the date for a general election on April 4. That means that Parliament would have to shut down for the entire month of March for the campaign, meaning we’ll leave the European Union without any Parliamentary involvement at all. There would be no sitting MPs on March 29, meaning there would be no way that the politicians could stop us leaving without a deal.
Assuming Mrs. May fought the election, she could either gain massively or lose marginally. If she were to fight the election as a Brexiteer supporting no deal, she could pick up working class Labour voters who voted to leave and are unhappy with Labour politicians trying to disrupt the process. Mrs. May could win even more support if her party deselected Remain Tory MPs and replaced them with new, pro-Brexit candidates.
This would be her lasting legacy. She would be the woman who wobbled with the EU, but who stopped the politicians getting in the way of what the British voted for and who stood up for the little guy: “Her deal didn’t work out, but hey, she was the one who shut down parliament and risked her own position as Prime Minister just to ensure the politicians couldn’t stop Brexit...”
But time will tell.