The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th May 2019

May twists and turns

ON TUESDAY Theresa May (who at the time of writing at least, was still Prime Minister) announced yet another “new deal” on the long-delayed departure of Britain from the European Union (EU). This is no more likely to meet with success than her umpteen other efforts. Her desperate attempts to reconcile the warring factions within her own party and to win parliamentary approval from the opposition benches speedily unravelled.

Mrs May has announced that she will be standing down as prime minister but has been unwilling to set a precise timetable for her departure. Her latest move only encouraged her parliamentary colleagues to hasten her departure.

Choosing to speak at the headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers, rather than in the House of Commons, she urged MPs to back her allegedly revised deal.

Mrs May offered the prospect of a second referendum vote and one on a customs union if MPs approve the withdrawal agreement bill when it reaches the floor of the Commons in the first week of June.

She offered what she called “significant further changes” — but these were largely concessions to supporters of the EU, who are unlikely to be appeased.

The main change of tack was to say that the Withdrawal Bill to be presented next week would will allow for a vote on a second national poll because the EU did not like the result of the 2016 one.

To woo Labour she also promised a bill to ensure that the UK adopts any employment laws passed by Brussels, and said there would be no change in environmental protection after Brexit and a new green regulator. Both these are designed to appeal to the sort of gullible Guardian-reading types who believe, in the face of all the available evidence, that anything progressive ever came out of the EU.

As might be expected, leading Tory opponents of the EU, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Brexit Secretary David Davis along with leading contenders for the leadership Boris Johnson and ex Brexit minister Dominic Raab, also announced their opposition. Another ex-minister, David Jones, said that the move would only further boost Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party on Thursday.

Four other Tories MPs, Iain Duncan Smith, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Charlie Elphicke and Simon Clarke, who had previously supported earlier similar plans, announced their opposition because it “puts Brussels firmly in control of our destiny”.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which is an essential prop to May’s Government, said the “fatal flaws” of her original deal remained, which they said was unsatisfactory for Northern Ireland. The only person to have been even slightly impressed was Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who said “the deal appeared to be acceptable”, but he of course does not have a vote in the House of Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn said: “We will of course look seriously at the details of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it is published. But we won’t back a repackaged version of the same old deal — and it’s clear that this weak and disintegrating government is unable deliver on its own commitments.”

May seems only to have further alienated her few remaining allies without winning any new support for the ruling-class strategy of keeping Britain permanently tied to the EU rules whilst leaving in name only.

Regardless of what happens in the irrelevant Euro elections, Labour will have alienated many of its working-class supporters with its fence-sitting approach.