For Politics in 2018, read ‘Brexit’. Every major party rift, legislative act and policy since the historic referendum bears the Brexit brand.
A party divided over Europe for generations now finds itself splintered by insulated Remainer rebels to rival the longstanding Brexiteers on the Conservative fringes. Various hues of the two sides are to be found in between, tethered together by party loyalty in the absence of strong leadership or a Commons majority.
Mrs May’s operation is ineffective. After promising the earth to the 17.4 million in January 2017 – out of the Customs Union, out of the Single Market; a trade deal instead, dressed up as a “deep and special partnership” – she has conceded ground at every turn, pledging the EU £20bn and begging for an ill-advised transition period, effectively keeping Britain in the EU until the eve of 2021, before doubling the cash offer and giving in over judicial independence and Northern Ireland. The latter about-face, the indirect consequence of a disastrous election campaign, which ended up with the Conservatives striking a costly deal with the Ulster Unionists to stay in power. May’s position is a precarious one.
However, in the absence of a contender able to unite the party and courageous enough to threaten to break off talks with the EU, speculation over Mrs May’s tenure at Number 10 remains mute, leaving Britain doomed to the bad deal she promised to avoid.
LEAVE.EU INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS
Hardline Tory Remainers like Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan and Ken Clarke, together with a sizeable number of peers have been out to derail Brexit from day one. Thanks to their efforts to subvert the public will, MPs will be granted a “meaningful vote” on the final deal agreed with the EU, thereby shifting the balance of power from the Government to Parliament. The EU now has the upper hand. Following Theresa May’s concession jamboree during the divorce talks, expect Brussels to reap yet more rewards from an obliging Parliament during phase II.
PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY
Following a honeymoon period prolonged by encouraging pledges to leave the Single Market, the Prime Minister has been well and truly found out. A manifesto low on anything to cheer about together with an atrocious campaign nearly undid Theresa May’s Government’s at the June 2017 general election. But the lowest ebb (for the time being at least) was still to come as she proceeded to submit to the EU’s will on every count during the negotiation over withdrawal. With transition and trade talks to come, there is plenty of opportunity for further failure.
BACK TO TWO PARTIES – AND THE DUP
The 2015 general election saw the national vote fragment like never before, with UKIP, the Greens, the SNP, and the Lib Dems taking millions of votes away from the traditional political parties. But the two big parties were back with a vengeance in 2017, taking the highest combined share of the vote since 1970 as the Tories staged a comeback in Scotland and Labour recovered across the South of England. But it isn’t all smooth sailing for Labour and the Tories as neither succeeded in securing an overall majority, with stable government now reliant on Northern Ireland’s DUP.
POLITICS NEWS & BLOG
Tuesday 1 May 2018 Yet another damaging amendment has been heaped onto the EU Withdrawal Bill Yesterday evening saw yet another vote in the House of Lords go against the referendum, a familiar tale of an amendment added to that pack mule of Brexit betrayal, the EU...read more
Monday 23 April 2018 The momentum building towards continued membership of the customs union severely complicates October's scheduled 'meaningful vote'. Brexit is doomed unless Theresa May miraculously keeps her troops in line. Thursday’s Customs Union motion in the...read more
Monday 8 January "We've given an awful lot away already...and now it's time for the European Union to give a bit back on services and financial services,” said Nigel Farage moments after his meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels this...read more