The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 21st December 2018

May staggers on

by New Worker correspondent

MRS MAY’S Tory government has staggered on to the Christmas break in parliament but how long it can last in the New Year is anyone’s guess. Last week Mrs May survived an internal no-confidence vote triggered by her own back-benchers but the Prime Ministers hopes of further concessions from the European Union (EU) over her Brexit deal have been dashed in Brussels.

This week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled his own no confidence motion — a ‘non-binding’ motion aimed at the Prime Minister and not the government as a whole — that the Government ignored. But it forced Mrs May to set the “meaningful” vote on her Brexit deal for the third week in January, which was clearly Corbyn’s intended result. Meanwhile the anti-Brexit Scottish nationalists and the Liberal Democrats have prepared a no confidence motion of their own, which Labour has refused to endorse. And without the support of the main opposition party it too can safely be ignored.

The Europhile camp that is clamouring for a referendum re-run constantly claim that the majority of MPs on both sides of the House of Commons are in favour of remaining in the EU — but that’s not true. In fact none of the options being touted around Westminster can command a Commons majority.

Mrs May’s Brexit terms, which would keep Britain in the EU in all but name, will almost certainly be rejected when it’s put to the vote next month. The straight ‘no deal’ Brexit — which is, after all, what the majority of the electorate voted for in 2016 — would also fall in the Commons. But so would the ‘Canada’ and ‘Norway’ options if they were ever put to the vote let alone the ‘people’s vote’, which would require a new act of parliament for another referendum.

general election

Labour’s current demand is, ultimately, for an early general election by bringing the Government down through the no-confidence votes required to end the fixed-term parliament prematurely. But these votes cannot be won without support from the government benches.

Corbyn is clearly hoping that when Mrs May’s plan goes under, the northern Irish bigots and a number of Tory Remainers will join Labour in a no-confidence vote to stop a ‘no-deal’ Brexit in March.

His hand may have been strengthened by the call from major employers’ organisations for “a new way forward”. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the EEF manufacturers’ organisation have called on MPs this week to put aside their disputes and stop a no-deal Brexit.

They claimed that companies “have been watching in horror as politicians have focused on factional disputes rather than practical steps that business needs to move forward.

“The responsibility to find a way forward now rests directly with 650 MPs in Parliament... We hope that they will listen and remember that when they return to Parliament, the future course of our economy will be in their hands,” they said in a joint statement. Businesses are reaching the “point of no return”, the statement reads, with many putting in place expensive contingency plans, while for hundreds of thousands others who are yet to start planning it is already too late.

“This is not where we should be,” they stressed, claiming that a no—deal Brexit would destroy supply chains, divert investment, and lead to massive new customs costs and disadvantages to the service sector.

Parliament closes for its Christmas break this week, it will reconvene on 7th January. The House of Commons is expected to vote before 21st January on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed terms of exit from the EU.