All the prevarication and delay over Brexit has backed Theresa May into a tight corner that could end her government – and not a moment too soon.
And it all revolves around the Queen’s Speech.
Each session of Parliament kicks off with a speech from Her Majesty, written by the government, setting out the agenda for the new session. The current session was expected to be two years long because of the extra work necessary to pass Brexit.
But now everything else on the programme has been handled except Brexit, and there’s no conclusion to that nightmare in sight because bringing it back to Parliament may result in another disastrous defeat, and that would force Mrs May to end the session.
It is certainly time to call an end to what has probably been the most disastrous Parliamentary session in UK history – but the Tories can’t do it because they think it may be electoral suicide.
They don’t think they can get majority support for any new legislative programme, you see. And support for the programme – as laid out in the Queen’s Speech – is the bare minimum requirement for any government to show that Parliament has confidence in it.
Without the confidence of Parliament – well, you can probably guess the rest.
Theresa May leads a minority government that has only ever been able to count on the support of the Commons due to a “confidence and supply” arrangement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – but that organisation’s confidence in Mrs May has been in short supply lately and the agreement will expire at the end of the current session. It seems unlikely that it will be renewed without another massive contribution from the magic money tree that the Tories have been telling us all they don’t have.
And Conservatives – including several grandees – are deserting the party due to their own disagreements with the leadership over Brexit and other matters.
So Mrs May is caught in a double-bind.
She can’t keep going because the only thing left is Brexit, and then she’ll have to stop anyway.
But she can’t stop anyway, and start another session, because Parliament will probably force the end of her government with a “no confidence” vote.
So now she is trying to fill up the extra time she thinks she needs with a B-list of weak-sauce Bills that she doesn’t think Parliament would reject.
But the DUP’s Nigel Dodds is already on the record as saying many MPs may not accept that.
She’s unsafe whatever she does, so she is doing nothing. Meanwhile, the UK stagnates. This is what happens when you put a great nation in the hands of a fool, at the head of a party of fools.
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