blandy

Should I stay or should I go now - U.K. in/out of the EU (contd.)

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8 minutes ago, HanoiVillan said:

Oh how dreadful. They'll be frowning very hard when they abstain next week, and no mistake!

:)

But will they abstain next week? I'm not as sure as you and @Chindie are.

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1 minute ago, snowychap said:

:)

But will they abstain next week? I'm not as sure as you and @Chindie are.

They're politicians, and Tory politicians at that. I'd expect pretty long odds on them doing the right thing when the choice goes against the party ;)

Besides which, I've no doubt Labour would do their damnedest to **** things up as well.

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12 minutes ago, snowychap said:

But will they abstain next week? I'm not as sure as you and @Chindie are.

I'm leaning towards this but...

10 minutes ago, Chindie said:

Besides which, I've no doubt Labour would do their damnedest to **** things up as well.

this is very true

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18 minutes ago, Chindie said:

They're politicians, and Tory politicians at that. I'd expect pretty long odds on them doing the right thing when the choice goes against the party ;)

Besides which, I've no doubt Labour would do their damnedest to **** things up as well.

I think Grieve's doing his best not to rebel but I guess there's only so much that he can take. Whether he then gets enough numbers to help defeat the government is another matter.

Do the Lords still have the option of tabling the Grieve amendment in full? Or do they just vote down the one the government have tabled? I guess that, either way, we'll be in ping pong for a while.

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2 hours ago, snowychap said:

:)

But will they abstain next week? I'm not as sure as you and @Chindie are.

You're right, it's not 100% certain, and I am to a certain extent just being sarcastic. But ultimately, lots of 'rebel' Tories seem to feel that defeating the government would be handing a victory to Corbyn, and just won't touch that rail. We'll see. 

Edited by HanoiVillan
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I will happily admit, I've completely lost the plot with what's happening with Brexit. It seems to have disappeared up the bum of party politics.

I'm still trying to find out who it was that pushed for the referendum, we don't get many and I'm still unsure why we had this one.

 

 

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Dominic Grieve is a a bloody intelligent bloke. He makes the key Brexiteers look like the idiots they are.

It's a shame we live in an idiocracy. 

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I'm not his biggest fan, but this Ian Dunt piece on the 'meaningful vote' is a pretty good explanation, as far as I can tell:

What the bloody hell is going on with the meaningful vote?

'Last night the government lost a vote on an amendment on whether you could use amendments on a vote, which was in itself an amendment to a government amendment, which was a response to a rebel amendment, which originated as a compromise on a Lords amendment.

Yes, really. You'd be forgiven to closing this window right now, holding a cushion over your face and walking around the house screaming. The debate over the meaningful vote has become impenetrable. The coverage has also been fairly dreadful, with lots of 'Brexiters versus Remainers' chatter but few attempts to explain what's actually happening. Honourable exceptions include the Hansard Society, which has been invaluable, and the Commons Library, arguably the most under-recognised resource in British political analysis, which published this brilliant blog (it also has a highly recommended bespoke email research service you can sign up to here).

Once you get past the technical language, what you're looking at is actually quite fascinating. It is a towering constitutional battle, a fight on how a country functions: government versus parliament. Imagine that they are having an argument. This debate is basically about who can make a proposition. Theresa May wants parliament to only be able to say yes or no to her propositions. Dominic Grieve wants parliament to be able to make propositions of its own.

That's important because May only really has two propositions: my deal or no-deal. Given that her deal is likely to be disastrous and no-deal would be a calamity, it's not unreasonable that parliamentarians might want other options.

The current vehicle Grieve is using for parliament to offer a proposition is an amendment. This basically means that you vote for something, but add a bit on. It's a legislative Post-It note. MPs could accept a motion but stick an amendment on it saying 'we want you to ask for an extension of Article 50 and go back and try again' or 'we want to hold a referendum on the deal'. Or, less controversially, they could accept it but put down the rules for how closely parliament would need to be involved in the negotiations over a future trade relationship after Brexit Day.

Essentially, Grieve was asking that we go from two options - 'yes' and 'no' - to three options: 'yes', 'no' and 'yes, but'.

The one fact everyone agrees on is that sometime in the autumn - probably in mid-November - May will come back with her Brexit deal from Brussels and it will be voted on in the Commons. This will be a normal motion and there can be amendments to it.

The rest of the debate is about what happens if the Commons votes it down, or if she fails to get a deal in the first place, which frankly is not beyond the realm of possibility.

After lots of broken promises and counter-briefing and general political skulduggery, the government promised last week that there would be further votes in the event of no-deal and that they would take place before January 21st, 2019. The prime minister would basically have to tell the Commons what the hell she intended to do and then they'd vote.

But the government did something very strange on these votes. They made them 'neutral'. They made it so MPs were essentially voting on thin air.

It's hard to overstate quite how much of a betrayal of Grieve this was, given the promises he had heard from the prime minister. It is rare to lift out specific parliamentary language on procedure and stick it inside a piece of legislation. This was a real middle finger to the rebel MP from Downing Street and a message to the hardline Brexit Tories that May would give them whatever they wanted.

A neutral vote is like a piece of Cartesian philosophy. Decartes said: "I think therefore I am." And that is literally as much as a neutral motion says. It says that 'a debate has been held', which is kind of irrefutable seeing as people are there voting on it. It doesn't say what anyone thought about the debate or what arguments were raised in it. It is specifically designed in this context to strip the parliamentary motion of any meaning.

The purpose of this, of course, was to destroy any kind of 'yes, but' answer. It would prevent parliament from making propositions.

Last night the Lords voted for another amendment. This was called 'Grieve 2'. It signs up to the government timetable for these votes, but insists that they are amendable. Parliament would be able to make propositions. Like: 'Go back and try again'. Or possibly: 'OK fine, we accept your rubbish deal but you better hold a referendum on it.'

Grieve 2 has two advantages. First, it basically codifies the promises he received from government to stop a rebellion he had the numbers to win. That gives it moral force, of a sort which might stiffen the backs of fellow rebels. Second, it is legislatively consistent. It says that each vote is conducted according to the same system. You don't have this weird arrangement where there is one vote on one system and then other votes using a completely different one.

The amendment returns to the Commons tomorrow. Regardless of how it fares, we can be in little doubt about how the government will operate when these votes finally take place in autumn and winter. It is clearly intent on preventing any real democratic scrutiny of the Brexit deal whatsoever.

The only scrutiny it will allow are amendments on the motion on the final Brexit deal - because it is impossible to make it neutral. David Davis has said as much. So it will use other tactics. It is likely to tell MPs that if it is amended the government can't ratify the withdrawal agreement. Voting for an amendment would therefore be equivalent to voting for no-deal. It's constitutional nonsense of course, but they're the government - they can do what they like. They'll do this because the best possible argument they have is that their deal is better than no-deal. Indeed, that may well end up being the only thing to recommend it.

However, Tory rebels will have other cards up their sleeve too, even if they lose this vote. If the Brexit deal is accepted by the Commons, the government will need to put primary legislation in front of parliament before Brexit day. This will give things like the transition arrangements legal force. That legislation, of course, can be amended.

Even if the deal is rejected by the Commons, Davis has said there would need to be a 'barebones' deal - basically covering things like a quick-and-dirty aviation treaty and tourist visa arrangements. That would also need to be put in legislation and could be amended, for instance to demand an extension to Article 50 and a fresh start at negotiations.

The trouble is, it'll probably be too late by then. It would be literally weeks - maybe even days - before leaving. It's possible MPs could use this to launch a last-ditch rear-guard defence against what is effectively a no-deal Brexit. But it would be way too tight for comfort.

It's precisely this sort of insanely chaotic scenario Grieve is trying to prevent, by introducing clear lines of process and accountability for no-deal when things are still relatively calm. It is something the government seems intent on preventing. But they may yet be forced to concede, if Tory rebels hold their nerve.'

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2018/06/19/what-the-bloody-hell-is-going-on-with-the-meaningful-vote

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Government is apparently confident they have the numbers to defeat the Grieve amendment, due to a number of Labour MPs potentially voting with them.

What an absolute shambles for Parliament if that comes to pass.

And the leaks from the Council Meeting next week suggest that we've got nothing new to say on Ireland (as if another three months was ever likely to turn black into white and up into down) and member states are being encouraged to step up preparation for no agreement. So the catastrophic option is still very much on the table.

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Edited by ml1dch

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Now we're close to finally establishing that Labour rebels actually do rebel, and that Labour leavers outnumber Tory remainers, maybe people can give 'Corbyn can stop Brexit' a rest for a bit. 

Joke. 

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1 hour ago, HanoiVillan said:

Now we're close to finally establishing that Labour rebels actually do rebel, and that Labour leavers outnumber Tory remainers, maybe people can give 'Corbyn can stop Brexit' a rest for a bit. 

Joke. 

That's not the case, though, is it? Labour Leavers don't outnumber Tory remainers, and Corbyn could stop Brexit (but doesn't want to). I agree that rebels do indeed rebel (by definition).

There's bee na few arguments (articles) recently on the Independent website that go over what Corbyn could do to either get his version of Brexit, stop it altogether, or become PM etc. You or I don't need to agree with all of it, but the logic is mostly unarguable.

Here's one such article (extract):

Quote

Corbyn, here’s how you get into Number 10:

1. Don’t put any official Labour amendments down, which Tories will simply not vote for.

2. Vote for some of the amendments that already have the backing of Tory rebels. Don’t fuss about it.

3. Put a three-line whip on, say, one of the provisions about the customs union or single market that is almost identical to Labour’s policy (especially seeing as none of the fudges, red or blue, make much sense anyhow). Maybe you’d take a more sympathetic view on a final referendum on the deal; or parliament’s right to vote to stay in the EU.

4. Send your MPs through the lobbies. A few Labour Brexiteers (Caroline Flint, John Mann, Frank Field, and Kate Hoey) will be swamped by the rest of Labour and the other opposition parties.
5. The Government is defeated. Meltdown achieved.

6. May calls a vote of no confidence in her own government, a device that has been used before, and quite extensively when John Major was in a similar predicament in the 1990s.

7. Wait and see. If the government wins, then fine, nothing has been lost and the UK stays in some kind of customs union or single market.  The May administration is then left in a kind of limbo, unable to govern yet unwilling to leave office either. Sooner or later the zombie government will just collapse, and an election, with some constitutional delays, will follow.  

8. If May loses her vote of confidence, then the Fixed-term Parliaments Act takes its course. There’s no immediate automatic general election; but, as in 2017, an early election is still possible, and probably growing inevitable.....

 

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9 minutes ago, blandy said:

You or I don't need to agree with all of it, but the logic is mostly unarguable.

I think the problem with the list of events in there is that there is an assumption that such a loss by the government on an amendment would necessarily lead to the putting forward of a confidence motion and that the votes in such would go the same way as they did in the amendment.

I can't see Grieve et al. voting against the government in a confidence motion.

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1 hour ago, snowychap said:

I think the problem with the list of events in there is that there is an assumption that such a loss by the government on an amendment would necessarily lead to the putting forward of a confidence motion and that the votes in such would go the same way as they did in the amendment.

I can't see Grieve et al. voting against the government in a confidence motion.

If throwing away a comfortable parliamentary majority in an unnecessary election wasn't enough of a reason for May to fall, losing a vote on an amendment that just allows other amendments to hypothetically be made to future legislation probably isn't going to do it either.

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2 hours ago, blandy said:

That's not the case, though, is it? Labour Leavers don't outnumber Tory remainers

Stephen Bush doesn't agree:

 

2 hours ago, blandy said:

There's bee na few arguments (articles) recently on the Independent website that go over what Corbyn could do to either get his version of Brexit, stop it altogether, or become PM etc. You or I don't need to agree with all of it, but the logic is mostly unarguable.

 

2 hours ago, snowychap said:

I think the problem with the list of events in there is that there is an assumption that such a loss by the government on an amendment would necessarily lead to the putting forward of a confidence motion and that the votes in such would go the same way as they did in the amendment.

I can't see Grieve et al. voting against the government in a confidence motion.

Dominic Grieve on this:

Tory rebels not trying to collapse government over Brexit, says MP

[...]

The former attorney general said: “One of the reasons I’ve supported [this amendment] is precisely to avoid a situation where the government would immediately collapse,” he said. “And I’ve been misreported on that, it was suggested I want to collapse the government, I don’t.”

Grieve said the new amendment was “a mechanism by which the House of Commons could express a view, without moving to a motion of no confidence, which could collapse the government."'

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/19/conservative-tory-rebels-collapse-government-brexit-dominic-grieve-eu

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2 hours ago, snowychap said:

I can't see Grieve et al. voting against the government in a confidence motion.

That's fair - I can't either.

On the rebel numbers in reply to @HanoiVillan, if we look at actual rebellion voting, then for example

Quote

The... vote in December last year, when MPs were originally discussing the bill, which saw the government defeated on “Grieve 1” - his original “meaningful vote” amendment. The government was defeated by 309 votes to 305 - a majority of 4.

On that occasion 12 Tories rebelled and voted against the government: Heidi Allen, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Sir Oliver Heald, Nicky Morgan, Robert Neill, Antointette Sandbach, Anna Soubry, John Stevenson, and Sarah Wollaston.

And two Labour MPs rebelled against their whip and voted with the government: Frank Field and Kate Hoey.

The numbers obviously vary from vote to vote, but in terms of the overall picture, I suspect that while there may be more Labour MPs who don't like Corbyn's approach than tories who don't like May's, that there are definitely more tories who will rebel ( "remainers" ) than Labour has ( "leavers" ) . Most Labour MPs and most Tory MPs are "remainers" in belief.

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All I can say is that Stephen Bush has talked to a lot of the MP's concerned, and as far as I can tell, he disagrees completely. 

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3 minutes ago, HanoiVillan said:

All I can say is that Stephen Bush has talked to a lot of the MP's concerned, and as far as I can tell, he disagrees completely. 

Fair enough. The voting record would show him to be wrong (to date), but who can tell what will happen in the future, HV.

Most notable Labour rebellions have been against Corbyn's hard line on Brexit, rather than for a harder line on Brexit - i.e. they've been pro remain rebellions, not pro leave ones. 

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