It really is all going sideways for Theresa May and her twisted political party – thanks to her immediate forerunner’s attempts to end in-fighting among those MPs.
In Parliament on Monday (October 15), she presented what she described as an update on her government’s negotiations with the EU on Brexit. Here‘s the BBC’s coverage of it:
“Prime Minister Theresa May has called for “cool, calm heads” as she insisted a Brexit deal was “still achievable” despite differences with the EU.
“She said it was “frustrating” the two sides could not agree how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland.
“The issue could not “derail” the chances of striking a deal, she said.
“And she sought to reassure critics of her approach that the UK would not end up in “permanent limbo” tied to EU customs rules.”
If that seems reassuring, you need to know that something was missing from the BBC’s report:
"This is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail."
Theresa May says a Brexit deal is "achievable". pic.twitter.com/boZMZS9cXo
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 15, 2018
Did you hear it?
MPs burst out laughing as PM says Brexit talks are in their 'final stages' The Prime Minister faced embarrassing scenes in the opening words of her major statement to the House of Commons. Tories are now just hanging on in the interests of the Tory party. https://t.co/NLfwGnn8yW
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) October 15, 2018
They sure are. Let’s enjoy some of that Mirror version of events:
“MPs burst out laughing today as Theresa May said Brexit talks were in their “final stages”.
“The Prime Minister faced embarrassing scenes in the opening words of her major statement to the House of Commons.
“Later MPs burst out laughing for a second time when Mrs May said two problems remain – and one MP was heard to quip “Boris!”
“Mrs May addressed MPs as last-ditch bids to get a deal with the EU failed just 48 hours before she meets 27 fellow leaders in Brussels.
“The PM was mauled by her own Tory MPs as she all but confirmed she is refusing to set a firm end date on her “backstop” – backup – plan to keep EU customs rules across the UK.
“But she again failed to guarantee an end date – risking a Tory rebellion.
“Meanwhile Mrs May confirmed the EU is now seeking a “backstop to the backstop” – a backup plan to their backup plan – while talks continue over what she wants to achieve.
“The “backup backup” is needed because the “backup” can’t be negotiated in time in the next few weeks, Mrs May said.
“She added, however, that this “backup backup” will drive a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“And that policy was rejected last night when Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab made a failed last-minute dash to Brussels.”
So we’re now involving ourselves in what may become infinite regressions. How many backups of our backups are we going to need?
Our friends on the social media were quick with ridicule:
UK: we want to leave customs union
EU: that means border controls, incl Irish border
UK: we promise,no controls there
EU: so you’ll put them between GB andNI?
DUP: no way
UK: we’ll keep whole UK in CU
UK: just temporarily, while we think of something else
— Richard Corbett (@RCorbettMEP) October 15, 2018
And, in case you haven’t realised, they made the point that Mrs May was careful to omit:
Just listened to the PM's statement in the HOC, and I feel as though I'm losing the will to live.
Absolutely – nothing new !
Just a total restatement of previous assertions !
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) October 15, 2018
Still, it might make matters easier for those on the Labour benches who were considering turning traitor.
Beyond me how any Labour MP can look at May's awful appearance in the Commons today and back her inept, car crash of a Brexit deal
— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) October 15, 2018
But I fear their decision on whether they can bear to humiliate themselves by supporting a woman who is now seen – internationally – as nothing more than a clown will depend more on their feelings about Jeremy Corbyn than anything else.
This Writer observes that French President Emmanuel Macron may have caught sight of my article quoting a warning that “The British government aims to prevent France and other EU countries from properly preparing for no deal by continuing to falsely engage in the negotiations in bad faith… The British are aware that contingency planning in France has not yet reached operational unit level … because the general French presumption is that the British government is genuinely engaged in good faith, which they are not.” Look at the following and consider what he wants to discuss:
European Council President Donald Tusk has invited Prime Minister Theresa May to address the remaining EU 27 member states on Wednesday night
— Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) October 15, 2018
Oh, and even Robert Peston is making jokes about the offer for Mrs May to address EU27 representatives:
So @theresa_may will make her pitch for a Brexit deal to EU leaders as the hors d’oeuvre is served on Wednesday night but then leave the table before the plat de resistance.
— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 15, 2018
And what about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn? Did the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have anything good to say about Mrs May’s statement? I think we all know the answer to that:
“This really is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. Another nothing-has-changed moment from this shambles of a government” says Jeremy Corbyn to the PM’s Brexit updatehttps://t.co/rLPoia1giD pic.twitter.com/Kx7ktyADTX
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 15, 2018
He continued (from around 12 seconds into the next clip):
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 15, 2018
Labour, of course, famously set Mrs May six tests that needed to be passed for a successful Brexit deal to be struck – and has been quick to release a video clip reminding us all of her failure:
We set the Tories some tests for Brexit.
But did they pass them?
Take a look 👇 pic.twitter.com/cBHkOHS7Rq
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) October 15, 2018
All in all, it seems clear the Conservative attempt at negotiating a Brexit deal has already failed.
And it’s all because David Cameron called a referendum in the belief that the vote would be to remain in the EU, and that this would silence his Eurosceptic backbenchers once and for all. How wrong could he have been?
Whether or not Mrs May and her government are playing the nasty game outlined in my earlier article is not clear – but one point that came through strongly was the amount of support in the House of Commons for a new ‘People’s Vote’ referendum:
In a relatively short debate, quite striking how many MPs came out today in favour of @peoplesvote_uk – with Dominic Grieve's confession the most striking. & in respect of opposition to Chequers, common cause made by true Brexiters and true Remainers https://t.co/OQENQylCBO
— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 15, 2018
May facing demands for second referendum from all sides of the House.
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) October 15, 2018
It has been suggested that Mrs May could, if necessary, call another snap general election and include a plan for a second referendum in her party’s manifesto.
Is this her escape route?
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