Corbyn renews 3-line whip on MPs to vote against May’s deal

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has renewed the 3-line whip on his party’s MPs to vote down Theresa May’s dismal Brexit deal – the most extreme stricture a party leader can impose to ensure voting discipline.

The debate on the deal recommences on Wednesday and Corbyn has sought a ‘cast iron’ guarantee from the cowardly PM that she will not cancel the ‘meaningful vote’ again as she did before Christmas.

When the deal fails – as every commentator still expects – Labour will launch a formal vote of no confidence under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. This is the only type of no-confidence vote that the government cannot block and time must be made in the parliamentary schedule for a debate and vote.

As the party has done throughout the Brexit process since the initial vote to ratify Article 50 in accordance with the referendum result, Labour has fought the Tories’ every time they have tried to impose a disastrous deal on the country or tried to deceive us, as this video from the excellent Ealing Labour for Corbyn team clearly shows:

However, Labour has just under forty percent of MPs in the Commons and cannot carry this no-confidence vote on its own. The willingness of MPs from the SNP, Plaid and the Greens to support the vote when it matters – having played games around it before the Christmas recess – will be key.

If those parties show they are serious about changing the government and get solidly behind the motion, then the DUP will again hold the swing vote, even if no Tories rebel.

The DUP has previously indicated that it would support a vote if the deal passes the first stage – the second being an Act of Parliament – but their real intentions will only be known when their votes are cast and intense discussions will be going on behind the scenes to try to persuade Foster’s party that its best interests lie in removing the Tories from government.

The DUP’s Westminster leader said late last year that Jeremy Corbyn understands and respects their issues significantly better than Theresa May – but only time will tell whether that is enough to carry the DUP’s factions.

Corbyn is doing his part. Will those other parties do theirs for the sake of the country, or will narrower political agendas interfere?

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  1. Any MP who supports the Tories or who goes missing for no good reason MUST have the whip withdrawn and be deselected

  2. There still seems to be a considerable misunderstanding here.

    If the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is passed then there would be no legislation or second vote. It is a one off meaningful vote and once passed the WA is then entered into an international treaty with the EU and put into legal force in the UK automatically on 30th March.

    The legislation has already been passed in the form of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 which got Royal Assent on 26th June 2018. There won’t be any bill to vote against or change in a second vote. The meaningful vote is only taking place (when it does) because the Act legally requires it. Once it has been passed there is no reversing the decision and no denunciation of the Treaty which is binding on all future Governments under international law. The Queen approves Treaties as head of state.

    All this speculation about the DUP switching to support a VONC is very unrealistic. There is pretty much zero prospect of the DUP voting for a VONC regardless of what happens with the WA because once it is passed there is nothing the DUP or Labour could do to stop it coming into force.

    1. SB: ‘The DUP has previously indicated that it would support a vote if the deal passes the first stage – the second being an Act of Parliament…’

      And you responded:

      ‘If the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is passed then there would be no legislation or second vote.’

      And the question Duncs, is how do you interpret the below regarding Parliamentary approval?:

      13 Parliamentary approval of the outcome of negotiations with the EU

      (1)The withdrawal agreement may be ratified only if—

      …(d) an Act of Parliament has been passed which contains provision for the [implementation of the withdrawal agreement.]

      Could SB be referring to 13(1)(d) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act?

  3. Interesting take, my view is the DUP would vote against the Tories if the deal passed thus leading to a GE.

  4. Duncan Shipley Dalton “If the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is passed then there would be no legislation or second vote. It is a one off meaningful vote and once passed the WA is then entered into an international treaty with the EU and put into legal force in the UK automatically on 30th March.”

    Which is why, if you believe the WA is a dud as Labour obviously does, Labour MP’s must not support it because to answer Dan Kippin’s comment, even if Labour got into power we would not be able to change anything.

    1. Perhaps not entirely (with a bit of imaginative shennanigans) – but that’s about as good a summary as there is.

      Actually – ‘We’ (the nation as a whole) were pretty ‘well and truly ‘fecked’ when Labour ran scared right at the start of Cameron’d cunning plot to run scared from his ERG axis.

  5. May’s deal is entirely incompatible with political democracy for at least three reasons:

    1. The backstop – as is well known, we cannot get out of it without EU consent to a replacement deal, thereby reducing UK bargaining power to zero.

    2. The substance – limits on state support to industry, drastic reduction in the permissible extension of public ownership, and vast swathes of pro-free-market rules in the form of the law of the free movement of goods which goes way beyond zero tariffs and no quotas.

    3. The institutions – it establishes a Joint Committee which meets in secret, binds the United Kingdom and prevails over the will of Parliament, its decisions outrageously having equal status to the Withdrawal Agreement itself.

    Vote it DOWN, Labour!


  6. Hi all

    Let us consider reality, instead of all that time wasted on the Lib Dems PV unicorn fantasy which has been dead since October 2018, the last date a PV could have been called.

    I disagree with the assessment that only the Government can call an election, this is not true. Parliament retains the ability to vote no confidence in the Government and force a General Election.

    1) No Deal Brexit is dead.

    There have been more than 50 Tory MPs willing to vote no confidence in the government if Theresa May were to pursue a No Deal British Exit (Brexit) for some time. I understand the latest figures put it at 100 plus. A no deal Brexit is not going to happen.

    1 a) Why so many Tories are set against a no Deal Brexit and in some cases any Brexit.

    I could go on about honourable Tories and seeing the future as being in Europe and I am sure for a few that is the case and some others just say it.

    The real reason most Tories will vote against a No Deal crash out is simple personal and economic, they are heavily invested in or are part of industries that will be very negatively affected by a No Deal Brexit.

    Kind Regards Ian Walker

  7. Hi all

    2) May’s deal is dead

    The DUP have stated they will vote No Confidence if the Tories continue to push for an Article 50 with the December 2017 Tory Backstop Treaty attached. Which includes May’s deal and a No Deal Crash Out exit.

    If you do not know the reason for this, you were not paying close attention to the fact that the government went right to the wire in parliament to prevent the Attorney Generals explanation of what the December 2017 Tory Backstop Treaty means.

    Or the fact that it was signed in December 2017 to allow article 50 to be applied without contravening the Good Friday Peace Accords, and that it was specifically signed as a treaty for the express purpose of dealing with any Hard exit, in particular a Crash Out No Deal.

    That is what all that: “There must not be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland!” is about.

    And you also failed to note it is a British Exit (Brexit) not a UK exit. You do know the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom don’t you?

    To put it as simply as possible, the Tory Backstop Treaty dissolves the Union, something a Unionist will not countenance. It means Britain is no longer sovereign over Northern Ireland, the EU is.

    Kind Regards Ian Walker

  8. Hi all

    2.a) Why the DUP will vote No Confidence in the Government.

    Many on the soft right also do not seem to understand why the DUP will vote against ANY article 50 that includes the December 2017 Tory Backstop Treaty.

    On this matter they WILL join Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the lobby. No if buts or maybes.

    Many seems you think the DUP are just talking politics when they are telling the Government that they will vote No Confidence in the Government, that it is some negotiating stance to gett concessions and more money.

    They are not, this is a matter of their life and death.

    It is not just that accepting the December 2017 Tory Backstop Treaty attached to article 50 would make them un-electable.

    They are talking about the lives of any DUP MP and their functionaries and their family being on the line for being seen as collaborating in any way with the Tory Backstop Treaty signed in December 2017 under the present article 50. They are already under threat for not stopping it earlier.

    This is not some Lib Dem wishy washy protest movement, the hardliners in the Unionist camp have killed people for less than the Tory Backstop Treaty, signed in December 2017 under the present article 50.

    Do you know what a bullet through the head looks like?
    Or Nail Bomb or pipe bomb thrown through you sitting room window does to your family?
    Or what a magnetic mine stuck to the bottom of your car does?
    Or a punishment beating does to your son or knee capping?

    The Government is proposing to send a thousand extra police to Northern Ireland if there is a Brexit. This is exactly how the last troubles began. Do you understand now?


    Kind Regards Ian Walker

    1. Yes I do know.

      That is a very good point. It is my assessment of the Backstop as well and why I am utterly opposed to it.

      Those are reasons why the DUP might be willing to support a VONC. Although to be fair as you no doubt know Nigel Dodds, Arlene, and Jim Shannon already have pretty direct experience of those things you mentioned and whilst I have my differences with their outlook I don’t view any of them as the kind of people who bend due to a threat. They will do what they believe is right.

      Where I differ is whilst they might be willing the political calculation is not so clear. If they crash the Govt and kick off a GE, they may risk seats in NI (probably not, but!). More problematic though is the odds are TM would come back and the leverage they have now could be lost. So they end up with the WA and backstop anyway and lose their leverage during the FTA/CU/SM negotiations.

      Alternatively they get a Labour Govt but would it scrap the WA? If Labour was going to carry out Brexit then probably. The backstop is quite likely to still be there as part of the WA so nothing gained and a much less Unionist friendly Labour Govt is now in place.

      My instinct is that Dodds just won’t pull that lever on a VONC. It is not a matter of not being willing just that it is not the best chess move and he is smart enough to see that. In my view anyway.

  9. So now it happens….

    The last few weeks of tweeza touting her sh*& round europe to zero effect is explained by the concept that Merkel and Macron can suddenly ‘come to their senses’ and lead the EU into a set of concessions resulting in brexit with the neolib consensus in place on both sides of the Channel. Not a Socialist government in sight. May therefore buys major kudos at home and buries the left wing for…

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