Speaker to block no deal exit?

Speaker to block no deal exit?


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John Bercow
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This week Jim reviews British politics in the wake of the European elections and back's the Speaker's assertion that Parliament can't be a bystander while the clock ticks down to a No Deal exit.

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EU Democracy in action

I hope you shared my admiration for the biggest multi-national act of democracy in the world at the weekend. Brexiteers constantly complain that the EU is “undemocratic”. It is true there needs to be reform to give the European Parliament greater powers over the Commission and Council of Ministers. In fact, you will see the MEPs demanding a major influence over the selection of the leaders of the Council and Commission in the coming weeks. But all that said from Bucharest to Belfast and Vilnius to Valletta millions of people voted for their representatives in the European Union. It was a democratic exercise for a democratic body where we share our sovereignty.

Who won?

Next, who won? Nobody. Certainly not the Brexit Party. Although the one policy outfit topped the poll everywhere in England except London, the combined total of parties opposed to Brexit came to roughly 40%. Brexit, Con and UKIP got 44% and when you distribute Labour’s 14% between broadly southern Remainers and northern leavers, one concludes that the country is split. The only thing that has changed since the 2016 Referendum is that people are much more polarised between No Deal and Remain.

Parliament as bystander?

The Tory leadership contest is broadly turning on whether you want to let the clock tick down to No Deal on October 31st or try to reopen talks. Will Conservative MPs keep Boris Johnson off the shortlist? It seems unlikely and in his limited public pronouncements the former Foreign Secretary has indicated he is prepared for No Deal. Incidentally his need to appear in court over his 2016 lies on the cost of our EU membership will only enhance his reputation amongst his supporters. As with Trump and the Russian connection, fans of Boris and Donald just see their man being persecuted rather than the rules being observed.

Immediately after the European results came in, it was presumed that with Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement dead, there was nothing for Remain MPs to vote on that could stop an automatic Halloween exit. But the Speaker is surely right that Parliament will not sit on the side lines and let that madness happen. John Bercow will be justified in allowing MPs to stop No Deal one way or the other.

Where the parties stand now

It was a shame the Remain parties couldn’t work together. ChangeUK paid the penalty. They need to join the Lib Dems as soon as possible. Change claimed the taint of working with the Tories over

austerity in the Coalition was a barrier. It isn’t anymore. The Lib Dems have had two good election results and are about to get a new leader. Their brand is toxic no more.

It would be great if the Greens could also help to form the new centre grouping the UK so badly

needs. Let’s hope the new Lib Dem leader can listen to the growing environmental concerns in the country and make it possible for a grand merger.

Nigel Farage says he is prepared to fight a General Election. Will that be on one policy again for the Brexit Party or will the people of Britain be entitled to know where he stands on tax rates, elderly care, university funding, devolution and nuclear weapons?

Finally, we come to the pitiful state of the Labour Party. There is an expectation that Corbyn will finally pivot to a People’s Vote. Don’t be so sure. The expulsion of Alistair Campbell shows the real instincts of the leader and his close advisors.

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