The SKWAWKBOX last night covered Theresa May’s extraordinary, even unprecedented, weakness and cowardice when she not only whipped Tory MPs to defeat her own Brexit proposals to placate ‘extreme-Brexit Ultras’ on her own back benches, but also then tabled a motion to close Parliament five days early in order to avoid the coup she must sense is coming from her opponents within her own party.
The developments stunned observers, many of whom struggled to believe what they were seeing.
Today, responses from a number of Tory MPs in the Commons revealed the extent of the outrage her cowardice has generated.
Veteran Nicholas Soames raised a point of order with Speaker John Bercow in which he called May’s attempt ‘idiotic’ twice – and set the scene for a response from Bercow in which he exposed the extent of that cowardice:
The language is arcane and measured, but Bercow knows his way around a statement.
In response to another intervention, Bercow also pointed out that the government had not even confirmed whether it plans to press ahead with its motion – May might be too scared of her MPs even to try to push through a measure designed to let her hide from them.
His decision to highlight two points in his response to Soames was no accident:
- that May chose a mechanism to force a vote with no debate when they could have used a means that would have allowed MPs to discuss the adjournment before voting
- that the government gave him no notice of their intention to try to close Parliament early
In doing so – and in giving careful acknowledgment to Soames’ outrage about May’s craven, ‘idiotic’ move – Bercow flayed her cowardice and laid it out on a slab with its entrails glistening for us all to mock.
The move was no less effective for the ‘parliamentary’ language he used.
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