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Monday 13 May 2019  

One of the tremendously satisfying aspects of Theresa May’s Brexit morass is the fact that, unless Parliament passes new legislation, Britain is headed for the exit door on WTO terms at the end of October. That’s the reality, forget those daft motions against No Deal, they mean nil.

Today’s threat in the Guardian, made by Sir Keir Starmer, that two-thirds of Labour MPs will refuse to sign up to a compromise deal with the government unless it includes a referendum commitment could be idle. It is possible the Tories would pull the plug and let Labour sweat until the Autumn, expecting Jeremy Corbyn to accept a customs arrangement at the final moment without a “confirmatory referendum”.

Hopefully, Starmer’s words genuinely possess the deranged intent they seem to and Labour sit out further discussions until the very end, ushering in No Deal as Britain heads out. That outcome depends on whether the Tories have the stomach for real independence, a pretty major if. But the public appetite is there and it’s ravenous, the Conservatives would be wise to make more of that fact.

Look at the polls. The Brexit Party has an eight-point lead over the Tories and Labour combined (see tweet above). The Conservatives know that they will be on a strong electoral footing if they show some confidence in the nation and go full steam ahead for No Deal. And, as pointed out by Tory Brexiteer Steve Double in the tweet below, the leadership’s repeated argument that withdrawal may never happen is impotent. Time to switch tactics, flush out the Remainers (Hammond, Rudd, Gauke, Clark to name a few) and show some steel.

Interestingly, Brexit secretary Steve Barclay, who Double criticizes in his tweet, is reported to have called for the resumption of No Deal planning in Cabinet recently. Mrs May has deliberately done half the job to make her deal seem like the only option. In his influential Telegraph column moderate Conservative commentator Fraser Nelson makes the case for going WTO as the way for the party to consolidate its support base and see off Corbyn:

“It was a stretch to complete no-deal preparations by the original 31 March deadline, but it ought to be far easier to have all the arrangements in place by 31 October. Best of all, a new leader could fire Mr Hammond and replace him with a Chancellor who would come up with a plan to calm markets and provide whatever stimulus would be needed: cutting tariffs, cutting taxes and going for growth.”

Philip Hammond has been critical in slowing down adaptation of customs procedures – read Leave.EU’s important blog piece from 2017 – the number one priority for No Deal planning.

“Mrs May’s strategy has failed. She ran out of time, luck and allies. But she will leave behind a pretty decent No Deal Brexit plan which, if used, could actually deliver what people voted for in the referendum,” signs off Nelson.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, The best way to bring about No Deal is for the Brexit Party to get the resounding victory forecast numerous polls – if May’s premiership has taught us anything, it’s the Tories in Westminster cannot be trusted with the job of leaving the EU. Over the weekend, an Opinium survey for the Observer also placed the BP in first place for the European elections on 34%. ComRes find that Farage’s party rank fourth for a general election, which translates to 49 seats, leagues ahead of UKIP’s all-time tally of two.

But while a revolution in British politics is brewing in the background, the cabinet appear oblivious, fumbling around the first aid box for pain killers instead of rushing to the operating theatre for a life-saving transplant. The Times report that at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, ministers will push the PM to hold indicative votes in a desperate bid to force a position in on Labour that’s backed by a majority of MPs. The Guardian interview with Starmer will help their case, but the benefits end there. The Tories, and therefore the government, will still be in a mess and far more importantly, the 17.4m will yet again be ignored.

Quote of the day: “They have ignored our events, failed until this week to put us on any major programs, and now behave with outrageous bias. The BBC are now the enemy.”

Nigel Farage after yesterday’s shameful BBC interview, during which Andrew Marr showed no intention for voters to get to know the Brexit Party and what they offer. A truly low point in the public broadcaster’s history, which is really saying something – see Tweet of the Day below.