Voters in the European Parliament elections must be particularly annoyed to find that, after they cast their votes determinedly for the Brexit Party (or the Liberal Democrats) to ensure that the UK leaves the European Union at the earliest opportunity (or abandons the plan to leave)… nothing is happening.
It was never going to.
The European Parliament doesn’t have much to do with Brexit. All those voters – millions of them – cast their ballot under false impressions.
The real action is in the Conservative government – which is paralysed after Theresa May announced her resignation.
Nothing will happen until a new leader is voted in, and let us hope that the 100,000 or so blue-rinsed grannies (average age of a Tory Party member is 71 or thereabouts) choose the right right-winger for the job.
Some would have it that democracy demands a return to the voting public before any decisions are made…
We‘re about to have our third prime minister since the referendum.
We‘re about to have our second ‘deal’ negotiated with the EU.
The democratic mandate of Brexit is terminally weakened. It‘s now inconceivable we leave the EU without confirming the terms with the British people
— Peter Kyle MP (@peterkyle) May 24, 2019
But Peter Kyle is a Labour MP who won’t want the Conservatives to make headway in any case.
His demand is in direct contrast to that of business leaders from the British Chambers of Commerce, who want immediate action to prevent further damage to the economy (yes, they’re saying the country has already suffered harm because of Brexit and they should know). They are also concerned that no new Tory leader should support a “no deal” Brexit that will also take money out of corporate coffers.
But these concerns are based on an expectation that Boris Johnson would win – and he is facing a possible jail sentence if he is convicted of misleading the public during the EU referendum campaign.
But Mr Johnson isn’t the only potential supporter of “no deal”.
Dominic Raab has announced that he wants the UK to leave the EU in October “at the latest”, indicating departure with no deal if one hasn’t been reached by then.
Esther McVey has said the public should be prepared for a “no deal” departure.
And Andrea Leadsom says under her leadership the UK will leave the EU in October, with or without a deal.
It seems that they might get their way, even if none of them wins the leadership election – because of the intransigence of the EU27 leaders.
Leaders including Emmanuel Macron in France, Angela Merkel in Germany, Mark Rutte in the Netherlands, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU’s position was not about to change; its side of negotiations over Brexit was over and it was for the UK to come up with something new.
Consensus opinion on the other side of the Channel is that Mrs May will be replaced with a “hard” Brexiter who will propel the UK out of the EU with no deal.
That, it seems, would ruin the Tory reputation as the “party of business”. Pro-business commentators are already saying it would be less damaging to have a Labour government that hikes corporation tax, according to the BBC News channel that I’m watching as I type this.
And the Brexit Party under Nigel Farage? Its MEPs won’t have a say in any of this.
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