A long Brexit delay means hard Brexit – as Tory right switches aim to Xmas coup

Right-wing Tory Brexiters increasingly banking on long delay to Brexit rather than Theresa May’s short version – to count down the clock until next move to remove May in December and install Boris Johnson. It will not bode well for UK’s Brexit prospects
Boris Johnson, centre, with Rupert Murdoch, right

According to parliamentary sources, the right-wing Brexit ultras of the Tory party are increasingly, albeit privately, dropping their opposition to a long Brexit extension in spite of previous loud noises about a May ‘Brexit betrayal’ if she asks the EU for a longer delay than the 22 May maximum currently in place or the 30 June revised date she is now asking.

The reason for this apparent about-face is simple – after Theresa May survived the Conservatives’ previous confidence vote in her last December, the party’s rules allow no further challenges within the party to her leadership until twelve months have elapsed.

A long Brexit delay would therefore allow the Tory right to run down the clock until a fresh challenge can be made, while ramping up the talk of betrayal and the risk of ‘no Brexit at all’, to solidify and grow their support among Tory MPs for a new no-confidence move this December.

If they succeed, the intention is to install Boris Johnson and leave the EU with a Canada-style ‘venture-capitalist-friendly’ deal. The practical difficulties of preventing this outcome, barring a deal by 22 May (or 30 June if granted) are considerable.

While the advocates of a new referendum are attempting to claim an inexorable momentum toward their prize, in reality the dangers of a hard Brexit are greater than ever – Johnson would probably opt for a ‘crash-out’ no-deal exit followed by a a quickly negotiated Canada-style trade deal.

And he wouldn’t even need a parliamentary majority for it.

Today, 57% of Tory MPs today defied May’s instructions to vote for an Article 50 extension – in the Tory world-view, any PM who opts for no-deal exit will become an immediate hero to a large part of the parliamentary party and to most of the party’s ordinary members.

Any opponents of a ‘hard, Tory Brexit’ should be crossing everything they have that Jeremy Corbyn manoeuvres May into an acceptable, customs-union Brexit deal in plenty of time for implementation before 22 May, to avoid the serious and substantial risk of a Brexit that will suit few except the wealthiest.

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  1. Which all goes to show why it is absolutely essential that any deal is put back to the electorate to decide.

    1. That is the Liberal Democrat position. It is not the Labour position. Labour accepts the referendum result.

      When the Liberal Democrats stood on a platform to remain at the last general election they lost 300 deposits. Labour has no intention of committing electoral suicide like the Liberals.

      Attempting to overturn the largest democratic ballot in U.K. history would be a gift to the far right and would hand ammunition to racists like Tommy Robinson.

      You are an enabler of the far right, SteveH. You are a fellow traveller of fascists.

      1. Internal Affairs “You are an enabler of the far right, SteveH. You are a fellow traveller of fascists.”

        Disgusting comment and too dim to realise that in another vote, the only people who could overturn the ‘peoples vote’ would be the people.

      2. That is the Liberal Democrat position. It is not the Labour position. Labour accepts the referendum result.”Don’t be so ridiculous, I could just as easily say UKIP and Tommy Robinson support Brexit. According to the the composite motion unanimously agreed at conference a second referendum is party policy and to argue otherwise is just silly, it’s there in black and white.

        “When the Liberal Democrats stood on a platform to remain at the last general election they lost 300 deposits”.
        Well you’re entitled to your opinion, no matter how misguided it may be, but most other people recognise that the LibDem vote collapsed because the betrayed their membership’s core values whilst in coalition.

        The best way to encourage and enable the Far Right is to run away from confronting their nonsense. If the Labour Party ever gets to the stage where it fails to stand up for what it believes in because it fears a Far Right backlash then all is lost.

        FFS get a backbone.

      3. Internal Affairs 09/04/2019 at 9:58 pm

        “You are an enabler of the far right, SteveH. You are a fellow traveller of fascists.”
        I suppose it makes a change from you trying to portray me and others as rapists. Is this the sort of thing that passes for ‘normal’ conversation in your social circle.

      4. Hardline remainers like SH, and Jack T refuse to respect the decisions of others. They refuse to respect democracy. They refuse to take no for an answer

        They have the same mentality as rapists.

        As they refuse to accept the largest mandate in UK history they forfeit any right to call themselves democrats. They are very sinister individuals indeed.

      5. Internal Affairs, you do your cause a disservice with such ad hominem attacks.
        Nobody here should need reminding that those are the methods our enemies use against Corbyn and ourselves, and that they do so because they have no genuine argument to offer.
        I happen to disagree with your views on Brexit but I’m doing my best to save the name-calling for our mutual enemies.
        We’re going to need to work together whatever the outcome of this current obsession with Brexit.

      6. Dear old IA – I congratulate you on the weidest reversal fiction of the century.

        It’s hardly a secret that Brexit is a creature of the far right neoliberals. It also produced a minority vote of crashingly unconvincing dimensions.

        You keep thinkin’, Butch.

  2. No, sorry, I can’t agree with your analysis here, not at all.

    There are enough Tories to whom such an outcome would be intolerable that it won’t happen. It would only take a dozen or so to rebel and support a no confidence vote for this not to happen, and I am quite sure that there are more that that who would walk in the event of a hard Brexiter taking the helm.

  3. SteveH “Which all goes to show why it is absolutely essential that any deal is put back to the electorate to decide”.

    Absolutely and this should have been Labour’s clear cut position from the very beginning. It would have shown leadership and direction.

    1. I think most of the membership were convinced that a second referendum had been agreed at conference until all the dithering and pointless prevarication started.

  4. Leadership is making it clear to extremists be they No Dealers or Neverenders they have not and never will have the numbers,
    There is no where near the level of support required
    Labour party Brexit honours the result
    Then if you feel that strongly give us a shout when you are consistently polling 60% plus for your particular unicorn

    1. The percentage of both Labour Party members and voters that are demanding a second referendum has been consistently polling way above 60% for some time.

  5. Can we not go back to basics. Peoples Vote(1) was to leave.

    The only International Treaty on the table is the Merk/May WA. Rejected thrice by Labour.

    Mrs Balls Act attempts to blackball exit without a Treaty but there is non on offer other than that which has been rejected.

    A cul-de-sac with no exit.

    Have the EU agreed to re-open WA talks? No evidence!

    Labour’s plan is what exactly? And at what cost?

    Just how much are we paying the EU per week to be in this club?

    1. “Can we not go back to basics. Peoples Vote(1) was to leave.”

      If you’re going to play that silly game then at least try to be accurate the 2016 vote was actually PV(2), PV(1) was in the 70s. I remember voting along with the significant majority to stay.

      1. Your memory is impaired. What was the vote for in the mid 1970’s? Certainly was not for the EU as it did not exist then!

        And you views on the rest of my comment?

  6. Labour plan is the softest Brexit which reflects the result 52/48 and starts process of bringing country back together
    Allows state aid and time to address causes of Brexit, not least Austerity
    Then if EU has reformed nd there is the demand for it, we can look at rejoining,

    1. Doug, problem with that is that we’do have to rejoin on far worse terms. No rebate, plus we’d have to join the euro zone.

  7. Why criticise Labour’s handling of Brexit when May’s been reduced to pleading with Corbyn for salvation and her own hardliners want to stab her?
    They can’t spin against what they can’t pin down and it’s making them crazy.
    Get out the popcorn, sit back & watch the fun as they turn on each other – it’s gonna be stellar 🙂

  8. Unfortunately May remains as intransigent as ever. The real danger now is that the EU negotiators will run out of patience and Britain will crash out on May 22nd or June 30th.

    The only answer is a renewed vote of no confidence in this abominable apology for a government by Labour, soon, but at a time calculated to have the best chance of success so that a General Election will be called and the electorate have the chance to bin the Tories and their disastrous attempt to negotiate Brexit.

    This, of course will mean a long extension until the end of the year. We can only hope and strive for a Labour government that can speedily send in a negotiating team to deliver the result that the majority of the electorate voted for. This should not take too long. most of the groundwork has been done already.

    What is needed, and what has the greatest chance to bring together those who voted leave and those who voted remain is a Brexit settlement that incorporates a permanent customs union and close trading ties with Europe but leaves the electorate with sovereignty over questions of national policy, such as rolling back austerity, privatisation, deregulation and cuts. This is what the next Labour government MUST deliver if there is not to be a complete decent into political cynicism by the majority of people. They must also ensure that EU and other citizens living in the UK are protected and that they enjoy full rights to social housing. NHS healthcare, education plus fair wages and conditions at work. Not to do so would be dangerous beyond words, for it would risk the ascendancy of the Far Right. We have seen their rise elsewhere in the Europe and beyond. We do not want this here.

    With this strategy, come December, there will be no need for the Tory right to table a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May, for she will be long gone.

    1. “but leaves the electorate with sovereignty over questions of national policy, such as rolling back austerity, privatisation, deregulation and cuts.”

      It may have escaped your notice but we control our own currency so the EU can’t dictate our economic policy, that is all our own governments doing.

      1. Rubbish. We have to aim to fun a small surplus in the EU and not doing so causes all sorts of problems. EU economic policy expressly rules out Keynesian solutions and we are signatories to it.

      2. You are totally correct, Steve. There is no argument for Brexit – all the fictional strands put forward by ERG and pals have been comprehensively demolished, leaving no practical option better than Remain.

        I, like most others didn’t sign up to the Labour Party to follow the Right over a cliff.

      3. Just so you don’t call me out as a liar, like you usually infer.
        We are signatories of the Stability and Growth Pact and the Fiscal Compact.Taken together, these rules forbid governments from running any form of expansionary policies, regardless of whether the economy is depressed. In terms of monetary policies, the rules are even more restrictive. We had to make promises regarding lowering our deficit every time we missed a target during the Cameron/Clegg reign. Britain running expansionary policy while Europe used supply side solutions would be a breach of competition rules. Any deficit problems can only be engaged with “Internal Devaluation”…austerity.

        All those posting pro-European comments on this blog completely and utterly refuse to engage with any discussion about ‘what Europe is and where it’s going’, you’d rather discuss the fact that the referendum was ‘a right wing venture’ and thereby concentrate your argument solely about left/right issues……which makes me laugh because I don’t see anything ‘left’ in any of you. Come back when you can make a relevant social democratic argument about European economic policy and how to change it, and I will engage with you. Till then research the damage done by having divergent economies in terms of their growth potentials, productivity levels and underlying competitiveness. Binding countries as different as Germany and Greece…….Some understanding of the leave case would go a long way to making it possible to move on rather than just saying “it’s a right wing project”.

      4. lundiel

        The UK is subject to the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact, but has a special position by virtue of Protocol 15 to the Treaties. This exempts the UK from the requirement to avoid excessive government deficits, and instead establishes a looser obligation for the UK to “endeavour to avoid an excessive government deficit”. The Protocol also exempts the UK from any sanctions the Council can impose on other Member States for failure to implement its recommendations to reduce the deficit

      5. BINGO RH……I wrote my above comment before you had posted your totally predictable narrative reply to SteveH. Can’t you even see how predictable you’ve become.

      6. Lundiel, you seem comfortable with the concept of effecting change from the ground up in this bastion of neoliberalism that is the UK – but completely reject the possibility of any change in the EU.
        Please don’t hang your argument on the EU rules as they exist – the electorate here is moving to the left and that’ll continue as the jobs market shrinks – the same conditions apply Europe-wide and the direction is leftward there too.
        Everyone everywhere is feeling the pinch and neoliberalism’s turned its back on us – we just have to stick together, tap it on the shoulder and remind it how many we are.
        (you get that that’s a euphemism, right?) 🙂

      7. David. I’ve made it clear many times that agreement on policy change in one country is difficult, while in 27 it’s near impossible, particularly as any change to the current situation will be resisted at all costs by Germany no matter what government it appoints.

      8. SteveH we have signed an agreement not to have excessive debt. Osborne kept having to go and explain his failures to the council. I don’t care about not being sanctioned, what matters is we’ve committed to classic economics as default model. Any deviation from that path could leave us open to legal challenge by corporates who don’t think they’re getting a fair chance, just like the Virgin Group recently did over NHS contracts. Economic conversion is at the heart of the EU.

      9. lundiel 10/04/2019 at 12:35 pm

        Could you please explain how the action that Virgin took against the NHS had anything to do with EU law. The EU didn’t force the UK to outsource its NHS services.

        I find it odd that you profess to be so concerned about the NHS but yet you don’t mind exposing the NHS to the very real risk of an adverse trade deal between the US and a RW Tory government.

      10. lundiel 10/04/2019 at 12:35 pm
        “we have signed an agreement not to have excessive debt.

        No we haven’t. We have agreed to “endeavour to avoid an excessive government deficit”.

        To argue they are the same would be the same as trying to argue that the changes the Tories are making to the role that Judges play in protecting our Human Rights isn’t a downgrade of our rights.

        Currently whilst we are in the EU our Supreme Court has the power to in effect revoke any legislation that is not HR compliant, after we leave the EU the Tories are changing it so the Supreme Court can only point out that a law is not compliant and the government can just ignore them.

      11. I’m sorry SteveH, you really are a hypocrite of the first order. Virgin Care’s actions were an example of what happens when you favour the market. The Fourth Railway Package market pillar is Europe’s and we can expect the toxic effect of competition law to spread other lucrative parts of the economy within Europe. I used Virgin as an example of corporates suing friendly governments who made those laws for that purpose, I could just have easily used Vodafone. In the future (if we stay in) we can expect German and French railways suing us over rail contracts, but that’s by the by. As usual you choose to subvert my comment and pick it to bits. You know full well that the EU is neoliberal to the core and to claim that, for us it’s the EU or America is not only a fucking lie but it’s complete hypocrisy…..the EU snatched America’s hand off to get TTIP and is now negotiating TTIP2.0 the worst trade deal ever imagined.
        To get back to what we were actually talking about, Europe doesn’t give a toss whether we have more or less than +-3% deficit/surplus but it cares very much if we were seen to be exploiting that. Therefore, there won’t be a real change in economic policy and Mcdonnell wouldn’t have a substantially different policy to that of Hammond…..the EU is not our friend it’s our economic enemy.

      12. I’m baffled why you think it is hypocritical of me to point out that you were using an example that has nothing to do with the EU to illustrate a point you were attempting to make about the EU.. As you have said, all you have shown is that the Tories are more than capable of screwing us over without any help from the EU. Oh and lets not forget that the we are not bound by EU economic policy

        You are of course right that their are alternatives to trade deals with others apart from the US and EU, for instance China and the Far East trade block but any idea you have that we would get a better deal than the EU would is just laughable. You also need to bare in mind that the Tories are still in power so unless there is a change it will be the worst elements of the Tory party that would be negotiating those deals. Do you really trust Dr. Fox to safeguard the NHS from the US.

        As for all your stuff about changes in the economy I’m quite happy with the ‘mixed economy’ proposals outlined in our 2017 manifesto.

        To quote Manuel Cortes
        “Labour Must Spread The Truth That Any Brexit Will Screw The Working Class More Than No Brexit At All”

      13. lundiel 10/04/2019 at 4:45 pm

        You may find this of interest
        Stop private companies suing the NHS
        The 2012 Health and Social Care Act is a complete disaster for our NHS – particularly Section 75, which forces the NHS to let private companies compete to provide some services. Now, NHS England has recognised the harm that Section 75 has done, and are calling on the government to get rid of Section 75 as part of their ‘Long Term Plan’ for the NHS.
        To persuade MPs, NHS England need all the evidence they can get that Section 75 has been a disaster – and they’re asking for your views.

      14. … and, lundiel – of course my reply is ‘predictable: – I live in the world of actuality rather than fantasy that denies all the accumulated evidence on the consequences of Brexit. If you think that the current farce is a prelude to an imagined golden age, you’re wrong. It’s s foretaste of what’s to come of the little corner shop for local people.

        Your optimism about free-floating trade deals lacking wicked constraints imposed by nasty furriners is the opposite of what is going to be on offer

        At the most obvious level, do you really think that the EU will replace current deals with a pick ‘n’ mix alternative? Or that the US will come bearing gifts for the Socialist Republic of Little Britain where the sun shines eternally on an increasingly impoverished economy?

  9. For me the only real political success would be a future of socialism unquestioned and capitalism unthinkable – where no-one yearns for riches because they’ve heard and read of the horrors when neoliberal greed shattered the economy (next time not last time) – and they fully understand that our increasingly abject poverty was essential to the 1%’s increasingly fabulous wealth.
    If some future generation hanker after an alternative to mere sufficiency and comfort, as they very well might if not thoroughly schooled, the cycle will begin again and it’ll all have been for nothing.
    Like every thinking person I’m a committed pessimist and suspect that only growing deprivation will convince an MSM-brainwashed electorate of capital’s terminal and irrecoverable failure and open the door to real socialism.
    It would be lovely to be wrong but people are so unbelievably easily duped by plummy accents and expensive suits I can’t believe anything but approaching destitution will convince them.
    I mean – imagine falling for “trickle down” ffs.

  10. I have a dual South African passport and I wonder what the comment would be from a frontline South African politician, to guide me. It might be “get those British EU right wingers out of the EU so we can negotiate with them without obstruction”. So how do I vote?

  11. The only single ‘fact’ in this whole debacle is that we voted to leave the EU. This should/could have been accomplished within 6 months.It is my opinion that if we had have left we would now be seeing a sustained period of growth, but I can’t prove that so I won’t claim it (unlike remain evangelists who think they ‘know’ that life will be bad if we leave). The delay in leaving is a disgrace and totally undemocratic, but wholly predictable. However, we are where are and the behaviour of Westminster MPs and remain supporters has been appalling. The dismissal of any criticism of the EU as ‘populism’ foisted on us by the right is nothing but a continuance of project fear….a distinctly identifiable establishment narrative, happily pushed by the faux left. The whole thing is a battle between those who support neoliberal globalism and those who don’t, it crosses party lines and will define us for years. The support for neoliberal globalism was never before considered, most of us assumed it was only popular in with a small section of society, we certainly never thought it prevalent in the labour party. It shows the full extent to which British democracy has been ‘managed’ for the last 50 years.
    I predict this will drag on until we “change our minds” and vote to stay. I also predict economic decline will continue at its current rate in Europe. The Eastern European states will empty and become ghost states full of our soldiers and missiles thanks to the European Defence Fund, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and PESCO, along with NATO of course. The most likely scenario most is war. There will be no Labour government and the party will be riven. The right will regain control of the party apparatus and the left will split off forever, leaving behind a fake left. The next 50 years will be marked by hatred and societal division.

    1. There is another fact – Leave self evidently didn’t have a plan.

      It is also worth noting that because of the increasing prosperity in states like Poland and Slovakia their citizens are returning home. This increased prosperity also expands the EU’s internal market.

  12. As usual Swarkie’s EU analysis is mired in the apolitical verbiage we get from the contemporary so-called Left. We must do our utmost, he implores, to achieve an “acceptable, customs-union deal”. (At least he spared us “sensible”.)

    But what does “an acceptable, customs-union deal” actually mean? Does it mean accepting that cardinal ingredient of the EU customs union which is the common commercial policy (the policy with regard to non EU countries) which means accepting the CETA and every TTIP-style investment agreement to which the EU agrees? Does it mean therefore accepting the empowerment of corporations at the expense of governments which such agreements entail?

    Does it also mean accepting restrictions on our industrial subsidies to make the customs union a “level playing field”?

    From the outset the Labour Party needed socialist ‘red lines’: no restrictions on nationalisation, no restrictions therefore on public sector monopoly, no restrictions on state aids, no restrictions on public procurement policy. What is the point of Corbyn if socialist objectives are never articulated?

  13. Corporations don’t need governments to empower them, they only have to ask and governments jump.
    In international relations too, the big guy gets his own way.

    FYI, leavers, we’re a tiny country in a world of expanding superpowers and once outside the EU we’ll be forced to do what we’re told.

    Financial services, about a third of our economy, can cross the Channel virtually with the press of a few buttons.
    Manufacturing has been in accelerating decline since the mid 80’s – a full quarter of what remains is foreign owned and here only for access to EU markets – guess where they see their future?
    That just leaves house prices and shopping – good luck with that.

    1. Oh, and one more thing – when half the world was pink our masters made a lot of money, a lot of mistakes and few friends.
      Some of the countries yesterday’s Tories asset-stripped are now those growing superpowers I mentioned.
      With B-J as the next Tory leader we should probably all start learning Mandarin.

  14. As a general point, I note that those who are most opposed to testing the validity of their suppositions about the last referendum (you know, the one that showed minority support for Brexit) have no problem with re-testing opinion through a premature GE.

    Thus the irrationality that fuels Brexit.

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