There's significant Brexit news in the UK today. Let's take a look at highlights from the Guardian Live Blog and related Tweets.
1922 Committee - Men in Grey Suits
1922 Committee Chair Graham Brady Statements
- "We have agreed to meet to decide the timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative party as soon as the second reading has occurred and that will take place regardless of what the vote is on the second reading - whether it passes or whether it fails."
- "It was a very frank discussion, I tried to make sure that all the views represented on the executive were expressed and we had a very frank exchange with the prime minister."
“Very frank” is normally code for a blazing row. It sounds as if, as reported in advance, some members of the executive did tell May that she should go immediately.
One Last Shot
Boris Johnson's Chances
- With Boris Johnson confirming that he will stand for the Conservative leadership, here are two good assessments of his chances of winning.
- “There are plenty of MPs who will try to keep him out of the final two. It could be a very nasty contest. But lots of them also think that his name recognition and his shameless populism is exactly the edge they need to save their seats.”
- Concerning the contest to succeed May, this minister adds: “We’ll probably all be talking about our departmental records, and how qualified we are to follow Theresa. Boris will be talking about voters’ feelings. And feelings win these days.”
Opposition to May's 4th Meaningful Vote Rises
- ERG opposition to May's Brexit agreement increasing, says Tory MP Mark Francois
- When MPs last voted on the prime minister’s Brexit agreement, the European Research Group, which represents Tories pushing for a harder Brexit, was split, with some of its members voting for and some against. But Mark Francois, its vice chair, has said this afternoon that “within the ERG, opposition to the withdrawal agreement bill is increasing.” He said it was “incredibly unlikely” the bill would pass its second reading.
I fail to understand why they call this a "second" reading. This will be the fourth.
Labour's Unclear Position
I have pointed this out before. Corbyn wants to play all sides simultaneously. No one knows what he really wants other than new elections.
"I’m not judging people about how they voted in 2016, what I’m saying is hold the government to account, make sure we have got a proper relationship with Europe in the future to protect manufacturing industry and the service industry jobs all across the North West and don’t allow the siren voices of the far right to divide our communities," said Corbyn.
What could possibly be more clear?
Further clarity: Corbyn supports a referendum but only if his customs union idea goes down in flames.
May 'so incompetent she can't even resign properly', claim SNP
- Here is Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, on the outcome of Theresa May’s meeting with the 1922 Committee. He said:
- The Tories have given up governing the country, they’ve given up campaigning in the European elections and they’ve given up even pretending to support their leader. The only thing we’ve learned from today’s latest fudge from the 1922 Committee is that Theresa May is so incompetent that she can’t even resign properly.
Sooner or Later Compromise
Labour and Tory Freefall in Wales
- The Brexit party is heading for an overwhelming victory in Wales in the EU elections and both Labour and the Tories are in free-fall, a YouGov poll suggests.
- Conducted for the nationalists, Plaid Cymru, the poll has the Brexit party winning a third of the votes in Wales, up 23% on last month. Labour is way behind on 18%, the Tories on a mere 7%.
Deal With Labour Impossible?
Boris Johnson's Chances - My Take
I like Johnson's chances. He has a very good shot.
Note that on a leadership challenge, only the Tories vote. The hard Brexiteers are in the majority.
What Can Go Wrong?
- May can refuse to stand down after the 4th reading.
- She can allow amendments and seek a 5th or 6th reading after each reading.
- Perhaps she works out a deal with Corbyn despite the mistrust. They need each other right now to stop a hard Brexit.
- Assuming Johnson overcomes the above three points and wins the leadership challenge, Corbyn is likely to immediately make a motion of "no confidence".
Unlike a leadership challenge, all the MPs get to vote on a motion of no confidence. It is possible Enough Tories vote with Labour to immediately oust Johnson.
In that case, the Tories would have to replace Johnson with someone else or agree to elections.
What if there are elections?
This is very unclear. Both the Tories and Labour might get clobbered by the Brexit Party.
Brexit Party Surge
Both Labour and the Tories should have a concern. Enough Tories might support Johnson just to hang on as MPs.
Moreover, the EU just might have finally had enough. France in particular has a vested interest in booting the UK.
But nothing is set in stone even though over 1,000 days have passed since the referendum.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock