Activate Article 50 now!

JOHN MCDONNELL has called on all of Labour’s members and supporters to close ranks around the Corbyn leadership and prepare for a snap election next year. At the Labour Representation Committee conference in London last Saturday the Shadow Chancellor said he believes that the new premier, Theresa May, will go to the country next spring to shore up her authority over Tory back-benchers, where dissent is growing over the Government’s apparent stance on the negotiations to leave the European Union.

When May took over from David Cameron she ruled out an early general election on the spurious grounds that we were “only one year into” the current parliament and voters want stability. That didn’t bother Harold Wilson, who led a minority Labour government after the February 1974 general election and then called another one in October in a bid to win an overall majority in Parliament.

In those days prime ministers could call general elections whenever they liked. Nowadays the premier’s hands are tied under an Act of the past Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition that guaranteed a five-year life for every parliament beginning in 2015.

This Fixed-Term Parliamentary Act can be overruled but only by a two-thirds majority or a vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons. Either way would require a contrived Tory vote against their own government and the support of Labour and the other opposition parties, which may not be forthcoming. The other alternative, to by-pass or repeal the Act altogether, could not be rushed through and would still require the support of the opposition to ensure its passage through Parliament.

The ridiculous spectacle of Conservative MPs voting to bring down their own government simply to try to get it re-elected with a bigger majority makes the whole scenario implausible. But the pro-EU section of the ruling class are determined to sabotage Brexit and a snap election may be the only viable option to them at the moment.

If the Tories won a snap election it would give the “Remainers” of the old Cameron camp, which included Theresa May, a mandate for a “soft” Brexit and mileage to claim that exit terms or continuing EU membership should be put to another referendum vote. But to succeed they need to counter the legion of Eurosceptic Tory MPs braying for Brexit in Parliament.

The Liberal-Democrats can always be relied on but with just eight MPs they are now largely irrelevant while the formidable 54-strong Scottish Nationalist bloc would, at the best, be an unreliable ally of the Conservative and Unionist Party. What they really want is the vocal support of Labour and that they haven’t got.

The Corbyn leadership with its close ties with Syriza and the other left-social democratic movements of Europe may well be pro-EU but Corbyn and McDonnell have both made it clear that they will abide by the will of the people.

The Europhiles tried but failed to bring Corbyn down through their willing tools within the old Blairite camp. Now they’ve scraped the barrel to wheel out Tony Blair to promote their cause. The old hypocrite, who rarely spends much time in this country these days, was widely reported when he argued the case for another referendum in the New European, an EU propaganda magazine published in Britain. Blair says the people should be allowed to give their views on any divorce deal with the EU, either through a referendum or a general election. We say that the people should be allowed to have their express wishes carried out. The Government needs to carry out the will of the masses determined at the EU referendum in June by activating Article 50 now!