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Thursday 23 May 2019

Polling day: if you haven’t already, ensure to get down to the polling station to make your voice heard.

The Brexit Party are poised to win 34 seats, miles ahead of Lib Dems on 13, the party forecast to come second. The Tories are likely to retain just two MEPs, at the last European elections in 2014 they secured 19 seats.

It is satisfying to consider that at the moment when Nigel Farage’s newly formed party began to be feared by the establishment around a month ago, commentators were dismissing them as UKIP reborn, likely to gain no more seats than Farage’s former party did at the last European ballot. They’re not being so dismissive any more. UKIP won 24 seats, a fantastic achievement in itself, but not on the same scale as what we’re expecting this time around. The Brexit Party’s rise is truly phenomenal, and much needed.

Of course, a large degree of the Brexit Party’s forthcoming success will be down to the establishment’s own incompetence and zeal for tampering with the democratic process, exposed so brightly this week, running all the way to polling day. The Electoral Commission’s lightning raid on the Party’s HQ, prompted by Gordon Brown’s allegations, turned up nothing.

Andrea Leadsom’s resignation has sent shockwaves through Westminster, but there’s much more drama to come. “Rats and sinking ships…” tweeted Arron Banks last night.

Leadsom’s departure was forecast by her late attendance at PMQs earlier in the day. The now former leader of the House of Commons is said to have not been prepared to announce the new Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) in Parliament today in advance of its publication tomorrow. She cites four reasons behind her decision (see below), but it can all be summarised in two words: broken manifesto. Click here for Leave.EU’s breakdown of the 10 “offers” embedded in the new version of the WAB. Abysmal stuff.

Theresa May’s rejigged WAB to attract Labour voters will have not only shaken many voters into realising how inadequate the Tories are, it has also sparked a major, final, and surely successful push to get May out of Number 10. Leadsom is a leadership contender, she needs to disassociate from the PM as quickly as possible. Rats from a sinking ship…

Other contenders, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt have each asked for a private meeting with May, scheduled precursors to dramatic resignations like Leadsom’s no doubt. Scottish Secretary David Mundell has done the same, although for the rather different reasons. He is understandably upset by the precedent May has set in essentially advocating a second referendum. If we can freely question the EU referendum, all previous results are open to scrutiny, Scottish independence included.

May won’t give any of these cabinet ministers an audience. “The sofa is up against the door. She’s not leaving,” said Iain Duncan Smith yesterday. No-one’s getting in either.

Now that May’s new deal is doomed to not even being tabled, the end of her premiership is imminent. Cabinet ministers are unloading to journalists. More holes are being drilled into the hull to bring the ship down quicker. “I thought she deserved one last roll of the dice, but she took those dice and threw them off the table,” one minister present at Tuesday’s meeting, when May pitched her final proposal, told the Times.

Ministers are said to have told May not to include a second referendum pledge in her speech, delivered later that day. She did it anyway, dealing a mortal blow to her stature among Tory colleagues.

“Early evening I saw Sajid [Javid] and wanted to know why there was talk by the PM of a second referendum,” said one MP. “He denied anything like that had been agreed so I ended up reading out the BBC website report of Theresa’s speech to him. He was speechless at what he heard.”

If Javid is innocent, and he and his colleagues were betrayed by May, surely they should have resigned on Tuesday. It took Leadsom more than twenty-four hours and she is the first, still the only. They want to wait out the reaction. Pathetic.

All eyes now turn to the 1922 Committee, which has held a vote on whether to change the party rules to permit a second confidence vote in the Tory leader in less than twelve months. However, the votes are sealed and won’t be opened unless May refuses to resign when she meets with the committee’s chairman, Sir Graham Brady on Friday. Even if she does resign, her departure date must be before June 10th, otherwise, the envelope containing the ballot slips will be opened and the process accelerated.

Tory MPs already had June 10th in their sights, just a few days after the WAB’s inevitable defeat. The WAB is already defeated, nothing is happening to break the Brexit impasse and deliver on the will of the people, certainly, nothing is being done to better prepare the country for No Deal.

May is too often described as decent and honourable. If that were the case, she would have resigned long ago. The voters will show her the door at the ballot box today. That’s how democracy works, The establishment should take note.