The UK has been in a perfect political and legal storm. It has a minority Government, a Referendum that narrowly supported leaving the EU and a Parliament that overwhelmingly rejects leaving the EU.
In normal times the Government would call a General Election but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 prevents this action. As a result the opposition in Parliament can hold a minority Government hostage. This is absurd and a sign of poorly thought out legislation.
Three factors exacerbate the ill-effect of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. The first is that there has been a Referendum that supported leaving the EU, the second is that large numbers of Remain MPs managed to get elected by promising, “hand on heart”, that they would implement the Referendum and the third is that a small group of Remain Tories negotiated a Withdrawal Agreement that they knew would be unacceptable.
The unacceptable Withdrawal Agreement has achieved its objective which was to polarise leaving the EU into No Deal or Revoke Article 50. The Remain MPs, faced with this choice, support banning No Deal (ie: revoking Article 50).
Remain are now not just holding the Government hostage, they are holding the Country hostage.
Mixed in with the Leave-Remain divide is the fact that the opinion polls show that Labour, the main opposition party, will do very badly in any General Election and so they are motivated to put off an election for as long as possible. The broadcast media are increasing the difficulties by redefining the English language and describing the act of holding the Government hostage as a “coup” by the Government when it is clearly the opposite.
Minority Government, a lying, reneging majority of Remain MPs, an opposition terrified of the people in a General Election, a faulty Act of Parliament, a perfect storm.
What can the Government do now? There are still numerous possibilities such as promising generous aid to smaller EU countries to eject the UK from the EU, leaving the EU early or withdrawing funding from the EIB, withdrawing all staff and cooperation and announcing departure on 18th October then resigning on 19th October. My favourite is to plan all three but to leave the EU tomorrow, the EU extension letter is not an International Treaty and can be abrogated. If the Government removes all EU staff and all financial support tomorrow the EU is unlikely to look kindly on the UK at the EU Council Meeting on 17th-18th October, there will be no way back.
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: http://pol-check.blogspot.com/2019/09/people-parliament-government-and-law.html