Tag Archives: split

All the talk of Welsh Labour separating from the national party and the Tories are doing it first!

This is doubly hilarious for This Writer, considering the response I’ve had from my MP over the confidence vote in Boris Johnson:

The Welsh Conservatives are considering splitting from the English party… risking fresh embarrassment for Boris Johnson.

Senior party officials in Wales decided at a meeting this week to take steps to separate from the English Conservative Party, with one source saying that the partygate scandal was the “last straw”.

Partygate was the main reason for the “confidence” vote in Boris Johnson’s leadership of the national (UK) Conservative Party last Monday (June 6).

Ahead of the vote, I wrote to my (Conservative) MP, Fay Jones, urging her to ditch him.

Here’s part of her response:

“I have thought long and hard about the PM and his ability to lead… But the Prime Minister promised that things have changed and they have. Our response to the war in Ukraine has been outstanding and closer to home, the Government is standing by tens of millions of hard-working families during the cost of living challenge.

“I had to think long and hard about the impact of a leadership election on the country. I want Ministers focussing on the passport backlog, the stalemate at the DVLA and ways to reduce eye watering fuel bills – not their own careers. That’s why I support the Prime Minister and his ability to get things done.”

Her comments about Johnson’s achievements are nonsense, of course. Johnson’s response to Ukraine has been to put the UK in danger and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had to be pushed into helping us with the cost of living.

Perhaps that’s why her fellow Welsh Tories are sidelining this soundbite-spouting Johnson mouthpiece and dragging her with them in a different direction.

There have been rumours – for years – that Welsh Labour would also separate from its national parent party, as it much more closely resembles original Labour ideals than Keir Starmer’s pale blue Tory Party in Westminster.

Perhaps this will prompt Mark Drakeford to take the plunge at last.

Source: Welsh Tories consider splitting from Conservatives in England

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Johnson’s deflections won’t stop us seeing through his weasel words

Pretty hats: Boris Johnson probably thinks the sight of him in a turban will stop most people from being angry at him for partying it up in breach of his own rules and then lying about it.

Isn’t it a bitter indictment against the UK’s Tory government that, while his own MPs debate whether he can be allowed to continue as prime minister, Boris Johnson is playing ‘fancy dress’ in India.

After a Parliamentary motion for Johnson’s behaviour – in attending Downing Street parties and telling falsehoods about it – to be investigated by a committee of MPs was passed “on the nod” – without even a vote, after Tory resistance crumbled, he was asked for his comment.

And of course he dissembled,

saying that people wanted the government to “get on and focus on the issues on which we were elected”.

We should be able to see through this kind of doubletalk by now. People do want a government that focuses on the issues facing the UK – but Johnson didn’t say anything about doing that!

He didn’t say anything about what he would be doing – he just gave us a bit of flannel about what we all know we want.

That’s part of the reason he has to go.

Back home, another leading Tory spoke up against Johnson: Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Commons Defence Committee, dismissed suggestions by Johnson’s allies that he should stay in post to manage the Ukraine crisis as using the war as a “fig leaf”.

[He] said Conservative MPs were “deeply troubled” and warned that the ongoing row about lockdown parties was doing “long-term damage to the party’s brand”.

He accused No 10 of lacking “discipline, focus and leadership” and predicted the prime minister would face a vote of no confidence, which could force him out of office.

And Johnson loyalists seem to be declaring civil war on the likes of Ellwood, along with Steve Baker and others who spoke in the debate yesterday.

Conor Burns, minister of state for Northern Ireland, told the BBC some of his colleagues had never supported Johnson.

“If the prime minister stepped off Westminster Bridge and walked down the Thames on top of water they would say it was because he couldn’t swim,” he said.

This Writer looks forward to seeing Johnson’s attempt to walk on water, as Mr Burns seems to think him capable of it.

Until that far-off day, I shall have to satisfy myself with observing the fallout in the Tory ranks.

There’s rancour in the ranks – and it’s likely to get a lot worse.

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Founding union splits from Labour in disgust at Starmer – hours before his big speech

BFAWU president Ian Hodson: the union has disaffiliated from Labour – the party it helped create – after Starmer’s rabble threatened to expel him over a connection with a proscribed organisation.

One of the trade unions that founded the Labour Party has disaffiliated from it – in disgust at Keir Starmer’s insistence on waging a “factional internal war” instead of opposing Boris Johnson’s far-right government.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) had said it would hold a vote on disaffiliation after Labour threatened to expel its national president, Ian Hodson, over connections with one of the organisations that Starmer’s Labour recently proscribed for no very good reason.

Hodson had dealings with Labour Against the Witchhunt – a support organisation for party members falsely accused of anti-Semitism by Keir Starmer’s auto-guilting disciplinary machine – until 2017.

It was proscribed by Starmer’s perversion of the party earlier this year, making any action against Hodson retrospective – and therefore unreasonable.

The union had planned a disaffiliation vote to coincide with Starmer’s speech at the Labour conference in Brighton this week – but the announcement was made the day before, heaping humiliation on the party’s non-leader.

He is the only Labour leader ever to drive away one of the organisations that helped found the party.

In a statement, the union made its reasoning clear [boldings mine]:

“We need footballers to campaign to ensure our schoolchildren get a hot meal. Workers in our sector, who keep the nation fed, are relying on charity and good will from family and friends to put food on their tables. They rely on help to feed their families, with 7.5% relying on food banks, according to our recent survey.

“But instead of concentrating on these issues we have a factional internal war led by the leadership. We have a real crisis in the country and instead of leadership, the party’s leader  chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership by proposing changes to the way elections for his successor will take place.

“We don’t see that as a political party with any expectations of winning an election. It’s just the leader trying to secure the right wing faction’s chosen successor.

“The decision taken by our delegates doesn’t mean we are leaving the political scene; it means we will become more political and we will ensure our members’ political voice is heard as we did when we started the campaign for £10 per hour in 2014.

“Today we want to see £15 per hour for all workers, the abolition of zero hours contracts and ending discrimination of young people by dispensing with youth rates.

The BFAWU will not be bullied by bosses or politicians. When you pick on one of us you take on all of us. That’s what solidarity means.”

In the light of this announcement, Keir Starmer should be dreading the moment when he takes the stage for his speech.

He was probably hoping for applause – but now he’ll be lucky to avoid catcalls. Personally, This Writer would pelt him with rotten vegetables.

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Could Welsh Labour split from the national party because of Starmer?

Starmer: this is just one of his offences while acting as Labour leader. Read down the article for more.

It seems Keir Starmer’s stance on Northern Ireland could be the final straw that forces Welsh Labour to secede from the national party.

Take a look at Dewi Eirig Jones’s response to Starmer’s unwarranted policy announcement below:

It would be easy to understand why anybody in a Labour Party organisation that still represented actual Labour values would want to split from Starmer’s Blairite, neoliberal, pro-Tory, anti-union, racist, little-Englander party but if you’d like examples, let’s see if I can provide some for you:

Support for NHS privatisation.

Support for Northern Ireland unionism in a referendum – when the Good Friday Agreement demands that he would have to be impartial.

Racism.

Homophobia.

Siding with the rich against the poor.

Blaming others for his own failures.

These:

  • The campaign to punish Labour left-wingers.
  • The campaign to silence criticism.
  • The erosion of Labour’s share of the electorate.
  • Starmer’s support for the loss of our right to protest.
  • Starmer’s attempt to gaslight us into thinking Jeremy Corbyn is responsible for Labour’s loss of support.
  • Starmer’s sustained support of Conservative policies and legislation.
  • Starmer’s support of the so-called Spycops Bill in particular.
  • Starmer’s adoption of fascist symbolism, in line with the Tories – flags, haircuts and suits preferred over socialist policies.
  • Efforts by right-wing Labour Party officers and representatives – many of them unelected – to disenfranchise party members and deny them representation.
  • And an attitude of entitlement that tries to tell us that we must accept Starmer sneering at us because he thinks he knows better.

And his ditching of the 10 pledges on which he was elected Labour leader in the first place.

I have many more examples but will those do for the time being? And would Scottish Labour consider doing the same?

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The Tories are running scared into the local elections – and scared Tories are DANGEROUS Tories

Face of fear: Boris Johnson’s time is running out. The local elections will show him just how short that time may be. How far is he prepared to go to hold on to power?

Enjoy this video by Richard Murphy (I did):

Yes – Tory policies are going very badly, and the propaganda machine won’t be able to hide that from the majority of us when those failures hit our quality of life.

Brexit has screwed our businesses.

Covid-19 isn’t over – there could be another wave by July (possibly fuelled by variant strains that have bred in the gap between vaccination doses).

The Conservative government is rife with corruption.

And nationalism is on the rise in Wales and Scotland, while Northern Ireland is on fire because Unionists have realised that they have been sold out by the Westminster government and their own DUP politicians who supported the Tories during Theresa May’s ministry.

What’s Boris Johnson’s response?

He’s provoking people. He’s trying to blame those who oppose as if they are the provocateurs.

Through his ‘identity politics’ process of calling out those he describes as “woke”, who he is therefore chastising for their commitment to equality on a range of grounds… he is trying to provoke [them] to attack him.

That is standard right-wing … fascist policy.

Murphy’s conclusion is accurate, too, I think:

They know that their policies are failing so all they can do is use blunt force to try to maintain their position in office.

… Like the fascists they are.

Hence the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that proposes draconian new powers for the police, who are to be used as political tools, putting down any opposition to Tory dictatorship. And to ensure that these powers are exercised, what do the Tories do?

They are provoking crowds; they are seeking riots.

Because then they can point at the rioters, and at the peaceful people who agree with the reasons for rioting, and claim that they are the enemy.

Toryism is about “othering”. It is about dividing us and setting us against each other, so we fail to act against our real enemy: them.

It is encapsulated in the story about the Tory, the worker and the immigrant:

A Tory, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 20 biscuits. The banker takes 19 biscuits, turns to the worker and says: “Watch out, that immigrant is going to take your cookie away.”

Murphy’s last point is chilling:

They’re not sure they want to go without a fight and we don’t know how tough that fight is going to be.

This Writer reckons it will be very tough.

Tories don’t mind spilling the blood of poor people. In fact, they delight in it. When they send the police to break up protest demonstrations, they see it as poor people fighting among themselves. It’s a huge jolly for them.

In the past, Tories have always known when to give up. They’ve recognised the signs and withdrawn before events escalated too far. That’s why the UK has never had a popular uprising or revolution like those in France, Russia, or China, to name a few other countries.

But the current Tory leadership isn’t like those old statespeople. Boris Johnson wants to hold on to power and will do anything to keep it.

I wonder what we’ll be prepared to do when the time comes to take it away from him.

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Tories split over plot to destroy the BBC

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and a fat lot of good it did the BBC! De facto Tory leader Dominic Cummings wants the BBC privatised and he has employed ‘Minister for Murdoch’ John Whittingdale to do it.

Days after the man formerly known as the Minister for Murdoch returned to the government, unelected leader Dominic Cummings has apparently declared war on the BBC.

It seems Cummings was just waiting to get the right man for the job – and the well-connected Whittingdale fitted the bill perfectly.

So it fell to The Sunday Times to herald the forthcoming assault on our national broadcaster:

“Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

“In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

“The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

“● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

“● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

“● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

  • “Scale back the BBC website
  • “Invest more in the BBC World Service”

It’s an interesting plan – especially, as Zelo Street points out, considering the fact that the BBC’s current agreement with the government runs until 2027, three years after the current Tory government’s term runs out.

Cummings is either incredibly confident of getting a new term with his puppet Boris Johnson, or he’s sure that Tory plants in the Labour Party will keep it riven by controversy and unable to mount a meaningful challenge.

That blog also points out that the plan has not been properly thought through: how can the government expect to dictate that BBC stars can’t have second jobs if they become part of a subscription service that is independent?

The announcement has provoked considerable debate online – and a clear contradiction has emerged in that most of those who oppose the BBC are only angry with it’s pro-Tory current affairs bias. It would be lunacy to think the Tories are going to create more balance!

(It’s worth pointing out that Raj Ganesh – above – considers the Conservative Party to be left wing and may therefore be considered a far-right extremist. That’s the kind of person who really hates the BBC. But expect also his phrase “telly tax” to catch on – Tories love that kind of thing.)

But it seems the plan does not have wholehearted support – even within Conservative Party ranks. Sure, some have described it as “Tory vandalism”…

… and, sure, some Tories have helped undermine the BBC and are now using the results of their own actions as reasons to attack it again…

… but some are standing by it:

Before anybody jumps in and tries to rubbish Mr Green’s opinion because of his past connection with certain forms of online… entertainment… let’s just remember that Whittingdale had a relationship with a female sex worker that only ended when he discovered the story was likely to be sold to the tabloid press.

And Mr Green isn’t alone, anyway. The Independent reports:

“Huw Merriman, another Conservative MP who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also warned that the corporation should “not be a target”.

“Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘it feels as if senior government aides are now ramping up an unedifying vendetta against this much-admired corporation’.

“A third Tory MP, Damian Collins, a former chair of the Commons culture committee, added: “No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

“’This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers. The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions.’”

The consensus among Tory opponents of the plan is that it will cost the party votes.

Personally, I don’t think that will stop Dominic Cummings.

He wants to smash everything of “cultural importance”, as Steve Coogan put it, to the UK. He’ll happily sell the lot to foreign investors and see all the money we earn dribble abroad, reducing the UK to Third World status. The NHS is set to be privatised, with the profit-making parts sold off to the US, remember.

Now why would a patriotic UK citizen want to do such a thing?

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Labour leader candidates sign Board of Deputies’ pledges in bid to become completely unelectable

Rogues’ gallery: Five of the six Labour leader candidates have signed up to the Board of Deputies’ undemocratic, divisive and damaging list of pledges. Only Clive Lewis has had the good sense to decline (so far) – and he is struggling to get enough nominations from fellow MPs to get on the ballot paper!

This is either an act of unutterable stupidity or a conscious betrayal of the entire Labour Party membership – and four of the five leadership hopefuls have committed it.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews – a self-appointed organisation claiming to represent Jews in the UK, believed to be composed mostly of Conservative voters – has released a list of 10 pledges  – in fact demands – its members claim Labour must support “in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community”.

The Board of Deputies has no right to claim that it represents all British Jews; it doesn’t.

As for the list – let’s have a look:

“1. Resolve outstanding cases: All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.”

This is an insult to justice. Cases take as long as they take – otherwise more innocent parties will fall victim to miscarriages of justice, as has already happened in the cases of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and myself, to name only a few.

“2. Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent: An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.”

And how is that supposed to happen? The Board of Deputies will be certain to demand a veto on any organisation chosen to carry out such work, ensuring that its disciplinary process could not be independent. This demand also conflicts with pledge 7, below. Come to that, it’ll be a neat trick marrying this up with pledge 10.

“3. Ensure transparency: Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.”

This is a demand for access to confidential information about party members to be provided to people from outside organisations who may belong to organisations that oppose the Labour Party. I’ve already mentioned the BoD’s apparent preference for Conservative government; who else would want access under this unreasonable demand. And isn’t it contrary to the Data Protection Act?

“4. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders: It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.”

This Writer is currently in the process of court action against the Labour Party over its decision to wrongfully expel me. If I succeed, then the party will be legally bound to readmit me, no matter what some third party like the BoD may think. This is simply an attempt to prevent Labour from reconsidering decisions to expel innocent members under false pretences.

“5. Provide no platform for bigotry: Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”

This is a blatant attempt to thin out the party, ensuring that it remains too weak to win any future election. All members who were falsely accused have supporters who remain members, but this means anyone saying anything remotely supportive will face automatic suspension and possible expulsion. It is a fascistic attempt to exert control. And if anyone signing up to this pledge becomes leader, it will probably be unnecessary as the exodus is likely to be thunderous. People who have supported me have already indicated their disgust with Labour’s behaviour over the last few years, and a willingness to leave of their own accord.

“6. Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification: The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.”

The man who wrote the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is on the record as saying that it has been weaponised by hard right-wing characters to demand support for criminal activities by the government of Israel. It was intended to be a working definition and is flawed in that it can be interpreted as demanding that anyone criticising the Israeli government should be treated as an anti-Semite.

See for yourself:

“7. Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community: The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.”

So much for “make the Party’s disciplinary process independent”. Labour has, in the past, told members to take anti-Semitism training from the JLM, but those members would be fools to accept it as the JLM has been known to fake evidence in order to get party members expelled.

“8. Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups: Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.”

This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course.

“9. Communicate with resolve: Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.”

An attempt to turn the anti-Semitism circus that Labour has become into a full-on witch-hunt. The demand for individuals accused of anti-Semitic behaviours to be named is a malicious attempt to blacken the names of people who may be perfectly innocent.

“10. Show leadership and take responsibility: The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.”

The leader has always been responsible for tackling claims of discriminatory behaviour by party members. But this is a contradiction as the Board of Deputies is trying to claim seniority over the party leader – make the leader kowtow to its demands. That is simply unacceptable.

But five out of the six leadership candidates have signed up to it: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.

And deputy leadership candidates Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray has also backed the pledges.

None of these turncoats should be allowed to have any position of authority – at all – in the Labour Party.

Already the move has put people off joining Labour – like Michael Siva, below:

And others both within the party and outside have voiced their outrage:

It goes on and on. These probably aren’t even among the strongest examples.

The Board of Deputies – and their Labour-hating allies – are undoubtedly loving the division they’ve caused. If party members elect a leader who supports these pledges, the resulting split could plunge us into far right-wing dictatorship for decades.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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No confidence over ‘no deal’: The start of a Tory disintegration – or the end of UK democracy?

The Queen: Will she have to use her constitutional role to rid us of Boris Johnson, if he refuses to honour the threatened vote of ‘no confidence’ over his ‘no deal’ Brexit.

That didn’t take long! The Conservative Party appears to be falling apart over Boris Johnson’s plan for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Some are siding with Dominic Grieve and threatening to support Jeremy Corbyn in an early vote of ‘no confidence’ against Mr Johnson if ‘no deal’ seems the most likely outcome when Parliament re-convenes in September.

But Dominic Cummings, BoJob’s senior advisor, has apparently claimed that Mr Johnson will simply ignore the result of such a vote if it goes against him.

This is unconstitutional – dictatorial, in fact.

If a confidence vote goes against Mr Johnson, Parliament will have 14 days to form an alternative government, according to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, with a cross-party “government of national unity” strongly suggested.

But Mr Cummings apparently reckons BoJob would call a general election, framing it in populist terms as being “people v politicians”.

He wants to put us on a slippery slide towards fascism, it seems.

One of the so-called 14 early warning signs of fascism is the identification of enemies as a unifying cause. In this case, with the enemies being politicians opposing Mr Johnson, it seems he would set us on a path to totalitarianism.

The obsession with Brexit would tick off another entry on that list – “powerful and continuing nationalism”.

It has been suggested that Mr Johnson would not be required to step down after losing a confidence vote, and the timetable of anything that follows would be set by him.

But others have claimed that refusal to honour the result of such a vote would require the Queen to step in and dispense of his services herself.

That would be ironic – a man who is asserting the ‘divine right of kings’ to do what he wants being removed by the person who actually has that right.

Source: Dominic Cummings takes swipe at Grieve over confidence vote plan | Politics | The Guardian

The Tory death wish: They’ll have Brexit even if it destroys the UK

Tories really want to cripple their country, according to a new poll by YouGov.

Not only are they desperate to harm the economy by daring a “no-deal” Brexit in order to decouple from the European Union no later than October 31, triggering the application of huge tariffs on international trade…

… But they also don’t care if this has the knock-on effect of destroying the union, with Scotland and/or Northern Ireland separating from the United Kingdom.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is likely to capitalise on this in her speech to mark 20 years of devolution. She’ll probably say:

“Immense damage to Scottish communities was caused by an out of touch Conservative party that governed, unelected in Scotland, for 18 years. But now I fear a similarly out of touch Tory party, led by an even more reckless leader, could cause as much damage as Mrs Thatcher and John Major did. But while they took 18 years, he, whoever it is, could do as much – or more – damage in just 18 weeks. Because by the end of October, Scotland could be heading for a no-deal Brexit.

“Scotland must have the option of choosing a different course. The next six months could offer challenges greater than anything we have seen in the last 20 years. In my view they will inevitably require greater powers for Scotland – indeed the full powers that come with independence.”

So she wants out before the next Tory leader – whoever he is – can do the damage we all expect.

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that has been propping up the Conservative government in a confidence-and-supply agreement has also been holding up Brexit by absolutely refusing to accept the so-called NI border “backstop” that would put the province on different trading terms with the EU than the rest of the UK.

Tory MPs are said to want a general election the instant a new leader is installed (Daniel Kawczynski mentioned Boris Johnson) in order to establish a majority without the need for DUP support.

But that might trigger moves for Northern Ireland to leave the union.

Of course, it might also lead to a Labour government, if the public at large don’t take to the leader the Tories elect (and Boris Johnson has a proven track record as a liar, a racist, and a sexist who’ll happily spaff our cash up the wall on nonsense).

And this leads to a contradiction, because according to the YouGov poll, the only thing that would dissuade Tory members from demanding Brexit at the first opportunity is the possibility of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

But such a government is more likely if they choose a leader committed to Brexit at any cost.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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This is how fear of a Tory split could threaten the course of Brexit

Speculation about the effect particular Brexit options could have on the Conservative Party may hinder the course of democracy.

This Site reported yesterday (March 31) that pro-Brexit ministers are threatening to resign if Mrs May agrees a permanent customs union with the EU – but that is precisely the course most likely to be chosen by the “indicative” votes due to take place in the House of Commons today, if last week’s exercise in democracy is any yardstick.

So how would any conscientious Conservative ensure that their party stays together?

By not supporting the “customs union” option – that’s how. Right?

A customs union is part of the Labour Party’s preferred form of Brexit, so that party might whip its members to support the option whenever they can.

But there are good – in terms of party politics – reasons for the Tories not to support a customs union. According to the Mirror, “following that policy would break the Tories’ 2017 manifesto and stop the UK signing its own trade deals around the world.”

Despite turning their backs on manifesto promises almost as soon as they were made in 2017, the Tories have since become rather precious about them and it seems 170 Conservative MPs, supported by 10 cabinet ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Penny Mordaunt, have written to Mrs May, demanding that she take the UK out of the EU as soon as possible – and not into a customs union.

If that’s true, they’re saying she should honour the Tory manifesto by ignoring the will of Parliament (if a majority of MPs go for the “customs union” option). That would be contempt of Parliament, of course, and Mrs May’s government is already the only sitting government ever to be found guilty of that offence. A second such ruling might trigger the election that Tories are equally desperate to avoid, as it could be said that Mrs May’s administration was not fit to govern.

But another wing of the Tories seems keen for Mrs May to support a customs union – as suggested by David Gauke, The Guardian has reported.

Mrs May might be thinking she can get out of it with her plan to subject us all to a fourth vote on her meaningless Brexit deal, set against anything chosen by Parliament today.

But (again) it is entirely possible that a large contingent of her Parliamentary party could resign before she gets that far – even though any such vote will happen this week.

It’s a dilemma – and one that threatens to break the Conservatives in a big way if they get it wrong. I’m hoping they do.

But I fear that they will make a choice that helps only themselves – and even then, only in the short term.


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