Yesterday the SKWAWKBOX published an article outlining simple Brexit maths that means the opportunity of the arrogantly-titled “people’s vote” (PV) has effectively already evaporated and that the motives of those pushing it were therefore laid bare, entirely unsurprisingly: attack and undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Predictably, the article was widely attacked by ‘PV’-adherents who claimed there were reasons it could still be done.
But those objections didn’t stand up – they did not take into account the latest legal guidance given to the government and the advanced state of the UK’s loss of status in the European Parliament.
The upshot of the latest developments and the collapse of pro-PV objections leaves the following list of facts that are as concrete as they are unpalatable to the PV-lobby:
- a new referendum requires primary legislation that only the government can bring before Parliament
- only the government can allocate parliamentary time for such an Act to pass
- a referendum requires a minimum of 147 days to be legally held
- by the time Parliament reconvenes, there will be well below 147 days until EU parliamentary elections
- the EU has already reallocated the UK’s 27 parliamentary seats
- legal advice provided to the government says that the UK’s EU membership would be ended by it having no MEPs, even if the UK tried to postpone Brexit on 29 March to create time for another referendum
- in spite of PV activists’ faux outrage, Corbyn won the party’s leadership election in September 2016 on a platform of respecting the referendum result
- Lab gained 2.5 million votes in last year’s general election on a manifesto that promised to respect the referendum result
- In September this year, Labour’s ruling conference backed a policy of prioritising a general election and merely keeping open the option of another referendum
- on 10 October, the EU’s chief negotiator expressed a clear preference for a permanent customs union with the UK – a plan that only Labour has put on the table and which would remove any issues with the Irish border
- just a week ago, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that while there is no EU appetite for any renegotiation of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the EU would accommodate negotiations of an entirely new deal – while indicating that this would not be possible under a Tory government
The weight of the facts is clear – Labour’s push for a general election is not only the best opportunity for a good UK-EU relationship and fully in line with Labour’s policy. It’s also the only one that can both free the country’s suffering millions from the burden of Tory government and avoid the damage of the Tories’ chaotic Brexit.
In technical and practical terms, the magical pursuit of a new referendum is a blind alley that is likely to condemn the UK’s children and vulnerable to yet more blighted years of the Tories in Downing Street – and to the worst form of Brexit.
Those behind it are likely to be well aware of that – and it has led to a desperate pre-Christmas push.
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