Friday 15 December
If last Friday’s disastrous deal with the EU served as yet another reminder of Theresa May’s inadequacy, the treasonous vote in favour of a Parliamentary stranglehold over the Brexit process taught us how shamelessly desperate to thwart independence the majority of the political class is. May’s weakness is the least of our worries.
The Government’s defeat in the Commons will ring loud and long. On Wednesday, eleven Tory rebels helped Labour to get a prized amendment into the EU withdrawal bill. The minor change in text has pushed the Brexit dynamics onto a completely different axis, giving out-of-touch career politicians in Westminster an opportunity to veto our exit from the European Union.
Traitors Dominic Grieve, Nicky Morgan, and Anna Soubry defended their actions by pointing to the Government’s refusal to provide a “meaningful vote” on Brexit – but they had a “meaningful vote” along with the rest of us on June 23, 2016, when they lost.
Their insatiable appetite for subversion hasn’t been exhausted by their treacherous behaviour on Wednesday night. Having handed May a big defeat, the Government is now mulling over whether or not to drop plans to enshrine the date of our EU exit into law – even though Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty essentially requires that we leave the corrupt bloc by March 29, 2019. A small core of sad Remainers are now holding the Government to ransom.
But while the passing of Wednesday’s opposition amendment casts the Conservative Party as a patriotic force for a true Brexit, nothing could be further from the truth.
Theresa May did a typically bad job of presenting the terms of her divorce agreement with the EU on Monday. But she didn’t need to add any spin. Her Tory colleagues, rebels and Leavers alike, were only too eager to market the sell-out as the steal of the century.
Ken Clarke, who openly defied the will of the 17.4 million by voting against the triggering of Article 50, commended his leader. Supposed Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith then stepped forward to thank Clarke before issuing his own congratulations. Soubry then excitedly rejoiced at the “complete unanimity” of MPs approving Mrs May’s deal.
The only dissenter, Lord Lawson, left Westminster for France long ago and is approaching his tenth decade.
At her Lancaster House speech, Theresa May delighted Brexiteers with promises of true independence. May will now fail to meet any of her pledges following a negotiation so incompetent there are reasonable grounds to believe the Remain supporting Prime Minister purposefully sold Brussels the crown jewels at a knock-down price.
The pact with the Eurocrats is a bona fide bonanza. Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday, Nigel Farage said, “I am not surprised you’re all very pleased with her, Theresa the Appeaser has given in on virtually everything”. After abject surrender on citizens’ rights, the Irish border issue, and money, The EU knows it can keep pushing and pushing for more and more, especially now that its opposite number at the negotiating table has a pro-EU parliament armed with a veto to worry about.
Already, the Euro-elite has said as much. Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel unequivocally stated that British negotiators would not get another bite at the cherry should Parliament put an axe to the trade deal settled with the EU. They will have to get it right first time and will therefore craft a deal big on Single Market membership, and even bigger on open borders.
But while Parliament celebrates May’s deal and simultaneously humiliates the Prime Minister, the European Parliament is being less generous. After the European Commission, itself called the deal a gentleman’s agreement, MEP Guy Verhofstadt led a campaign of feigned outrage against Brexit Secretary David Davis for suggesting much the same thing.
It looked like the EU Parliament was simply trying to score PR points until the European Council published the final terms of the divorce earlier today. The document reveals that in actual fact, everything must indeed be written into law. Furthermore, the EU will waste the next three months dotting i’s and crossing t’s as it formalises the legal text. Only once that is done will it embark on trade and transition talks lasting just six months.
Needless to say, we are not confident of anything “deep” or “special” coming out of Brussels before the Article 50 period elapses in just over a year. The EU only plans to start trade negotiations proper in 2019. Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts told Radio 4 listeners this morning the UK might be able to strike a deal like Canada’s between 2019 and 2021, but without provisions for services, the part which happens to be the backbone of the British economy.
Mr Lamberts is being sent as one of several outriders to tell the daunting truth: the EU will keep Britain in transition for as long as possible. For their part, Downing Street cynically describes it as an “implementation” period, even though nothing new is being implemented, it is the “Remain” period.
EU spokespersons like Lamberts regularly cite the seven-year-long negotiation of the Canada deal, which is why of course the transition period needs to be open-ended – like Mrs May, the EU Council puts its duration at “around two years” – and equivalent to the existing terms of EU membership:
“All existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. As the United Kingdom will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) during the transition”.
That’s our law-making power, our money, our judiciary, and our trade policy surrendered to the EU for absolutely no reason. Is this what the British people voted for in June 2016? No.