Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Turmoil: and the Tory Split Coming Fast

Wow. Tonight in parliament turned out to be even more riveting than yesterday, with the government suddenly whipping against its own (amended) motion. It lost by 43, so the whipping was rather pointless. Seventeen ministers including four Cabinet ministers, including Rudd and Clark, abstained against its own policy, with one resigning by voting against. Four Cabinet ministers voted for the Malthouse Compromise too, including Javid and Hunt, apparently, which went down and is gone.

The amendment wasn't expected to pass, dropped by its Tory sponsor and picked up by a Labour one, and it made the motion clear, toughened up, and giving the clarity of having no deal off the table. It still does not change the law.

The stupidity is that next week the Prime Minister likely returns the defeated deal: which was the logic (as I put before now) of having this no deal vote after and not before the Withdrawal Agreement vote, voted down by 230 and 149. The idea is that, just as David Davies did, MPs will vote for the 'rotten deal' instead of an extension. But there are not enough of them to get this thing through, even if the European Research Group cracks. How can the DUP vote for an agreement that still has the backstop without a moment of extra negotiation before a third vote. Even if they did, the government majority is so slim that the ERG people who cannot support it, the remainers who won't, and now some who voted for it who say it is dead and move on and vote against it - it will not go through. They surely now have to look at other possibilities.

It is unlikely that Farage from abroad can get a single State to veto an extension, should one be granted by the EU 27. If he did the anger would be such in Parliament that revoke would rise up rapidly.

Is the Cabinet going to allow the Prime Minister to keep dealing her low value cards? As I have put earlier, the Cabinet coup is operative, as seen tonight, but it is incomplete. Corbyn also sounded in 'take power' mode, to put and find proposals from his office among MPs across the House, doing what May should be doing anyway - and still is not. His deal or close might emerge, to then somehow go to the EU. Taken by Theresa May?

The Tory Party is so angry across itself tonight that it will surely split. The point also is that if there is no discipline applied to Cabinet Ministers who abstained and all the other ministers, then there is no certainty that ministers will obey any line decided and then just go ahead to abstain again. Sarah Newton resigned herself: 15 ministers have now gone since the 2017 General Election.

I am pretty sure that a further few MPs will join The Independent Group from the Tory side. The government's behaviour, but also the meltdown in the Tory Party, will take some off elsewhere including TIG. It also depends how, in a formal sense, that the Tory Party emerges as two entities. If we descend into a General Election then there would have to be an emergency way of choosing a leader - when one would be contested - and this might do it: all candidates would be effectively divide into leave and remain candidates, regardless of party. There would have to be a choice in each constituency.

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