Quite often, (and rightly so) this website has acted as a thunderer against those who wish to usurp the will of the people in Brexit. The Daily Globe tirelessly fought for the United Kingdom to leave the United Kingdom, and assembled the best writers to persuade the country to be free and independent once again. Having won the vote though, we have been incensed by the attempt of the likes of Gina Miller in the courts, Tim Farron in the House of Commons, and Tony Blair and John Major as ghosts of Christmas pasts, to frustrate, delay and even try to reverse the will of the people. Yesterday however, the Prime Minister turned another attempt at Brexit frustration into a great victory for fulfilling the will of the British voters.
Labour had hoped to encourage a Conservative rebellion and weaken the government’s resolve to implement Brexit according to its announced timeline of March 2017. They proposed an amendment to force the government to accept to publish details of the government’s Brexit negotiating plans. Anna Soubry the arch-Remoaner and sacked former government minister claimed that as much as 40 Tory MPs were going to rebel and support this Labour motion. This motion was put forth by Labour not because it was truly concerned about the negotiating position of the government, (which to a large extent should not be public anyway and would only hurt the UK’s negotiating position) but rather to divide the Conservatives and delay Brexit. As Boris Johnson rightly told Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit Secretary, on Andrew Marr, Labour is trying to frustrate the will of the British people.
Now, whether that 40 Tory MP number was true or not (it probably wasn’t knowing Soubry), either way the government was being put in a tricky situation with the possible backbench rebellion. However, instead of playing defence, the Prime Minister completely turned the tables on Labour and the Remainers. She said the government would publish an outline of the government’s Brexit negotiating goals. In exchange for that outline, she demanded that MPs commit to the March 2017 Brexit timetable. It was a sheer act of political genius.
Theresa May’s brilliant tactical move caught Remainers and Labour off guard and the opposition crumbled. Yes, Tory Remainers like Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve and Labour Remainers like the hapless Ed Miliband from the benches whinged and cried that people called them Remoaners and unpatriotic. Yes, the SNP and Liberal Anti-Democrats (mostly) stood their ground against the voters of the UK. But in the end the opposition crumbled like a house of cards. The House voted 461 to 89 to agree to the government’s timetable to trigger Article 50 by the end of March- agreeing to the Prime Minister’s timetable. Only one Tory MP, the arch-europhile veteran former minister Ken Clarke, who once said “I look forward to the day when the Westminster Parliament is just a Council Chamber in Europe” and called the EU Referendum “an opinion poll” dared vote against the triggering of Article 50. Labour too was mostly cowed- as only 23 arch-Remainers such as David Lammy (who has a low opinion of the British Empire) voted against the March timetable. The only opposition left was the Celtic Nationalists: SNP, Plaid Crymu, and SDLP who will vote against anything pro-UK; the Anti-Democrats (although interestingly only 5 of the 9 bothered to vote No, the other 4 abstained) who are counting on using the Remainer vote to make them politically relevant again like they did in the Richmond by-election; and the lone Green Party candidate Caroline Lucas because apparently democracy causes climate change- or something. For a full list of MPs who voted against triggering of Article 50 click here.
This move by the Prime Minister was very politically savvy and did a good job of taking the winds out of the sails of the Remainers. What can they complain about if she moves forward with Article 50 now that they have agreed to the timetable? This is also welcome because it largely makes the Supreme Court’s decision largely redundant. As Ian Pye rightly pointed on this site on Tuesday, the case is a waste of time and money and to say that a government can’t begin treaty negotiations without a vote of Parliament despite a clear and unequivocal instruction from the people is frankly madness anyways.
The Daily Globe is curious to see what the government’s rough draft of Brexit negotiations goals will be. If one was to guess, it would probably look a lot like the notes of a strategy photographed outside Downing Street a couple weeks ago. And frankly, those are largely acceptable to most Brexiteers. In the mean time, if they are looking to further a more concrete Brexit strategy, they are always welcome to adopt the Daily Globe’s Brexit Manifesto published one week after the Brexit vote or any of the numerous ideas published throughout this site that envisions what a post-EU United Kingdom will be. We, like Parliament, will scrutinise Brexit plans and will oppose any attempt to keep the UK with one foot in the EU. However, we are ecstatic that the government’s timetable has been affirmed and that the process of exiting the European Union will finally begin. We look forward to a Red, White and Blue Brexit.
Finally, as a bonus and because we love you- watch this speech by the fantastic Jacob Rees-Mogg arguing for Parliament to respect the will of their bosses, the British people, and mocking Remainers sudden interest in parliamentary scrutiny and years of no interest at all. Click here for the video. Enjoy!