Tomorrow the Commons was due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. I was due to speak in today’s debate on the deal and as this means so much to our community I spent most of the weekend working on my speech. It was one I wanted to get right on your behalf!
At 11am today one of her ministers was on the radio saying that the vote would definitely go ahead. At 11.01 Number Ten announced that the vote wold be pulled. What a complete and total mess this government is in.
Last year she told us twelve times there would be no election, and there was. For the last month she told us the vote would go ahead, and it hasn’t.
This is not just a humiliation for her, it is a humiliation for our politics and our whole country. I cringed just now when I saw an interview with an EU negotiator who said, ‘we don’t know what to make of it, she wants to come back to us to renegotiate her own agreement’. What fools we are being made to look.
Whats my alternative? You have a right to ask this. All the way through I have tried so hard to work openheartedly and with MPs from all parties to provide workable solutions to the really tough challenge the referendum posed. I worked on a Single Market based solution that would have delivered a soft-Brexit that protected our jobs and economy and along with other MPs offered it to the government with proof that it could carry a majority of the Commons. It was rejected.
I then worked on a Customs Union-based solution, and offered it to government. It was rejected. I then worked with others on a Norway-style solution. To give you an idea of how much work I put into this, I travelled to Norway and met with businesses, ministers, and their chief negotiator. I then went to Brussels and to the EEA head office and met with their staff and country representatives. I worked so hard to understand the challenges and potential ways through.
Each of these options wasn’t just rejected, we were sneered at by the prime minister in the Commons at every turn. Time after time I got to my feet and spoke politely and respectfully, selling the benefits of one scheme or another, but every time she would hurl robotic catchphrases back at me like ‘Brexit means Brexit’ or ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ and she would do so to impress the hardliners in her own party but all the while staring huge resentment among MPs from all parties who are just trying hard to find a way through.
Well now we have got to the crunch point. Theresa May has painted herself into a corner, no-one else put her there. Her own decisions got us to this point. And rather than stand up and face the Commons, she did something of such political cowardice that I never imagined I would live to see it, let alone be sitting in the chamber as it happened.
If we had struck the deal down tomorrow we could have moved forward as a country. We could have allowed parliament to debate a way forward and I would be passionately advocating a People’s Vote so that you can have a say as well as MP’s. But now this will be kicked into the future. More time will be wasted and the drama will go on and on. You deserve better.
Theresa May went o the Supreme Court to stop MP’s having a vote in the first place. We only have a vote on the deal because she was defeated in a vote last year. Every step of the way she’s tried to avoid the scrutiny of parliament. So when today she stood there and told MP’s that they had a duty to vote for her deal I saw red. She has disrespected parliament from the start and the person who has just bottled-out of a vote has no right to lecture us about respecting either voters or parliament.
So the question for me is, is no prime minister better than a bad prime minister?
Please, let me know what you think. Peter.