Theresa May has suffered another Commons defeat, following a vote that decided the government will no longer be given 21 days to come up with a “plan B” if May’s deal is voted down on Tuesday. May lost the vote by 11, meaning she will now only have three working Parliamentary days to come up with an alternative with a deadline of Monday 21st January.
Seventeen members of her own party voted against her – including former ministers Sam Gyimah, Jo Johnson, and Justine Greening.
This was the second humiliating defeat in the Commons, after MPs yesterday voted to limit ministers’ ability to increase taxes in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Of course, it was Nicky Morgan (backbench Conservative MP) and co behind the disruption – the Tory rebels keen to see Brexit thwarted at any cost.
These two Commons defeats mean things aren’t boding well for her meaningful vote on Tuesday. If she has anything new to show ministers, she better get a move on. So far, 17 of her own MPs are voting against her. I struggle to see how anything can change in just five more days.
Speaking of which, the five-day-long debate on the meaningful vote has begun once again. Speaker John Bercow was thrust into controversy yesterday, too, following his decision to allow a rebel amendment in the Commons which gave MPs greater control over Brexit policy direction. Bercow claimed that while a decision like this had never been made before, he didn’t believe it was reason not to allow it. Convention, he said, simply stops Parliament progressing.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is ramping up for a general election – though he might be forced to change direction. Believe it or not, Labour’s manifesto pledge is to see Brexit through. At least, that’s what they say. What they mean is that they would go to the EU, ask for a better deal, not get a better deal, but just take it anyway and claim victory. That could all change though, if Corbyn’s party have their own way.
Corbyn’s spokesman has today admitted that all manifesto commitments for the Labour Party, in the event of a fresh election, would be decided by the usual “internal party democracy.” That spells bad news to secret remainer Corbyn, whose party is as rabidly pro-EU as the Liberal Democrats. Unfortunately for him, working class, traditional Labour voters are not. I suspect a pro-EU stance could mean Corbyn’s fall from grace – and an opportunity for Theresa May to position herself as the Brexit Prime Minister.
She’d have to get on board with a World Trade Brexit, though.