The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th January 2019

May on the Brink

by New Worker correspondent

MRS MAY’S government is on the brink of collapse following a major defeat over Brexit in parliament and the almost certain rejection of the Government’s Brexit deal next week. Labour says that if that happens they will launch an immediate no-confidence vote to bring down the May government that would lead to an early election.

This week 20 Tory MPs, including veteran Europhile Ken Clarke, defied their own party to support a cross-party measure aimed at blocking Britain leaving the European Union (EU) with no deal. Following the vote the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, called for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out altogether.

In the House of Commons MPs voted by 303 votes to 296 to back an amendment moved by Labour MP Yvette Cooper (whose husband Ed Balls was a major figure in the Blair government). Although the amendment itself cannot stop a ‘no-deal’ Brexit it prevents the government from implementing no-deal provisions in the bill without the consent of the British parliament.

The vote was a crushing blow to Mrs May, who had hoped to present her own Brexit plan — which keeps Britain inside the EU in all but name — as the only alternative to the chaos that they say will follow without a deal. But in any case, Theresa May’s own Brexit Withdrawal Bill is doomed because her Democratic Unionist (DUP) allies are refusing to budge over the Irish border “backstop” issue, which the northern Irish bigots fear will lead to the end of partition.

A vote on the bill should have been held in December but it was called off when Mrs May’s advisors told her it faced defeat in the House of Commons.

Although Mrs May has made some vague commitments to calm the fears of the 10 northern Irish MPs that have propped up her government for the last two years, these were dismissed as “fairly meaningless” by the DUP this week. no confidence

If Mrs May’s deal falls Labour will launch an “immediate” no confidence vote in the government, two Shadow Cabinet ministers told the media this week.

Shadow Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner told Radio 4 that: “Obviously, the next thing to do immediately after that [a defeat] is for there to be a vote of confidence in the Government.” The “appropriate time” to table such a motion, he said, is when the “Government loses its key legislation and no longer commands a majority in the House of Commons”.

This was backed by Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne, who told Sky News: “We’ve got a very clear position. If this deal does not pass through the House of Commons we will be calling for an immediate general election.

“The only way you can secure a general election is to table a motion of confidence in the government.” Meanwhile, tens of thousands are expected to join the “Britain is Broken” demonstrations across the country on Saturday, to call for Mrs May’s resignation and an immediate general election. Called by the People’s Assembly movement, which has the support of Unite and Unison as well as a number of other trade unions, the organisers hope that next week will be the beginning of the end for the Tory government. The People’s Assembly is also calling for solidarity with the French ‘Yellow Vests’, who are continuing to struggle to force President Macron, the most hated man in France, to resign.

Bill Greenshields, a retired teachers’ leader now on the national steering committee of the People’s Assembly, said that Saturday’s demonstrations will be “an international struggle where workers must join together” to combat international institutions that “enforce austerity and neoliberal economics and politics”, which serve “the needs of those big monopolies and money markets”..