Commentary by William McFadyen
By this stage most of us have developed an instinct-like reaction to the mention of Brexit, to block out the sounds of the nearby explosion and bury our heads in the sand. The past few weeks have ensued more like script for a Monty Python movie than dry political monologue however, and we should probably have a clue what’s going on, even if only to tell our Grandkids in 50 years time.
PM Theresa May presented her cabinet with a draft of the Bill which will take us officially out of the EU last Monday (12/11/18), and the aftermath has left her government and party in utter disarray. A raft of cabinet resignations poured in from the very next morning (despite May assuring us from Downing St that the meeting had been a success), including “Brexit secretary” Dominic Raab… the very man tasked with handling negotiations on the matter. You can’t blame Raab though it must be a difficult job, he’s the 2nd Brexit secretary to resign since the post was created two years ago!
The contents of Mrs May’s draft bill in its original form had no chance of making its way through Westminster, being suffice to satisfy neither remainers or hardcore brexiteers within Parliament. The DUP, whose votes the Conservatives rely on to operate a majority government, refused to back the proposal over the issue of a sea border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, leaving Theresa May no choice but to amend the Bill at the behest of the Parliament and the house of Lords.
The Bill is set to be finalised at an EU summit next Sunday, while plans for the future relationship between EU and UK are also to be set out, but don’t hold your breath yet. European parliament still needs to approve the bill in its new form, and Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez has yesterday threatened to vote against it.
All this is happening against the backdrop of a British Government in turmoil… Top hat aficionado Jacob Rees Mogg is leading a charge to have Theresa May removed from Downing St under a vote of no confidence- “We have a Government led by remainers who want to keep us tied into the EU as closely as possible” he said yesterday while imploring fellow Conservative MPs to join his cause.
Meanwhile the possibility of another referendum on EU membership, or the dreaded “no deal” scenario are not yet off the table. First Minister of Scotland Nichola Sturgeon spent yesterday at Westminster, in unofficial talks with both the Government and other opposition party leaders. Sturgeon told the BBC “I’ve been very clear what I think the options are- single market and customs union membership, or another referendum… but the opposition parties would have to agree upon that”
According to political correspondent Nick Eardley, our highest representative from Holyrood even found time to expertly troll ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Eardley tweeted:
“Bizarre moment of the day.
Nichola Sturgeon bumps into Boris Johnson as she heads into PM’s Commons office.
He says “Good luck”. She says “Want me to tell her anything?”