British MPs must vote against the Withdrawal Agreement today on 29th March 2019 because it is not Brexit. This agreement would be an international treaty that would compel Britain to remain in the EU, via the Irish Backstop, for an indefinite period, without any say over EU rules and without any power to unilaterally walk away from the treaty.
Leo Varadkar has publicly said that there would be no visible border checks in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and has thereby blown the gaff on the entire Irish backstop. The backstop has nothing to do with the Irish border or the Good Friday Agreement, which makes no mention at all of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The backstop is a legally binding lock to keep Britain tied to the EU indefinitely, with the EU holding the keys.
Certain well-meaning MPs are considering to vote for the agreement on the basis that the alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement is no Brexit at all. This, in my opinion, is a false argument.
- If the British Establishment succeeds in preventing Brexit then let’s have this theft of British Democracy right in the open, where everybody can see it. Hiding this theft behind a surrender agreement that pretends to effect a withdrawal from the EU but in fact does not, would simply help the Establishment to escape from their responsibility in orchestrating this theft.
2. The 2018 EU Withdrawal Act is on the Statute Book. It means we leave the EU, deal or no deal. To remove a statute you need another statute. This means you must have:
(1) A Prime Minister willing to give Parliamentary time for a Bill to repeal the 2018 Withdrawal Bill, or acquiesce in rogue MPs taking over the order paper for the same ends.
(2) A Prime Minister who gives binding advice to the Monarch to the effect that the repeal Bill, impacting as it would the Royal Prerogative, must be given Royal Consent to be put to the Commons and Lords at the Second and Third Readings.
(3) Majorities in the Commons and Lords for a Bill to repeal the 2018 Withdrawal Act.
(4) A Prime Minister who gives binding advice to the Monarch to the effect that Royal Assent must be given to the Repeal Bill.
Anybody reading this blog must ask themselves a simple question: Do all of the above four conditions stand a chance of all being met together?
If the answer to this question is no, then the conclusion is simple: We are certain to leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, the so-called no-deal or WTO option, if MPs today have the guts to vote down May’s surrender agreement.
In my opinion patriotic MPs can ensure that all four of the above conditions for a repeal of the 2018 EU Withdrawal Act will never be met:
The Prime Minister
The Prime Minister would be the central figure for any repeal of the Withdrawal Act. But Theresa May is now in a very weakened position; she has twice publicly evoked her own resignation this year, most recently two days ago. Determined opposition by Conservative and DUP backbenchers would stop Theresa May from undertaking any action to facilitate repeal of the Withdrawal Act. Conservative and DUP MPs could move a motion of no-confidence in her leadership, transfer the whip to the DUP or indeed bring down the government, all of these options being available at any time. This is in the context of ordinary Conservative and DUP party members being overwhelmingly in favour of a no-deal Brexit and overwhelmingly against the Withdrawal Agreement. Moreover public opinion has hardened in favour of a no-deal Brexit.
The House of Lords would be tempted to support the repeal of the 2018 Withdrawal Act, but would they dare? Such a move would give a huge wind to abolition of what is in effect an unelected legislative chamber. So their support for repeal would be in conflict with their desire not to imperil their power and privileges. Also the Lords do not have a final say: their verdict can always be overridden by the Commons.
The House of Commons would not vote for repeal of the 2018 Withdrawal Act. The majority leave vote was more broadly spread across England and Wales than the Remain vote, which was heavily concentrated in London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge. Consequently a clear majority of constituencies, 420 out of 650 (190 majority) voted to leave. This means that MPs voting to repeal the Withdrawal Act would face a huge backlash and would risk losing their precious seats.
Patriotic MPs and Patriotic Lords (they do exist! David Stoddart for example) have a big role to play. By staying on the field, by continuing to make and strengthen the arguments for a real Brexit, patriotic MPs and Lords will make a difference and help get the real Brexit we all deserve and voted for over the line.
On 23rd June 2016 17.4 million British people voted to leave the EU, and 16.1 million British people voted to remain in the EU. This vote was taken in the context of a written and public declaration by the then Prime Minster, David Cameron, that the decision of the People would be implemented by the government. Let’s work together to make a real Brexit happen, starting by putting May’s surrender agreement into the bin for good.