The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th January 2019

For A General Election Now!

by New Worker correspondent

TORY MPs and their sectarian allies in northern Ireland closed ranks to defeat a Labour no-confidence motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday. But Mrs May seems determined to cling on to office for as long as she can. No-one believes that she’s got any chance of getting any Brexit deal through Parliament before the cut-off date of 29th March.

Moving the motion the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said that Mrs May’s “zombie” administration had lost the right to govern, and they “should do the right thing and resign”. But the Prime Minister said that an early election was not “in the national interest”. and with a renewed pledge of support from the Democratic Unionists she fended off the Labour challenge by 325 votes to 306.

The day before Theresa May had suffered a humiliating defeat when her Eurosceptic backbenchers refused to endorse her Brexit deal. On Tuesday MPs soundly rejected the government’s proposals in the biggest defeat for any British government in the modern parliamentary era. After 200 speeches across eight days of debate, members of the House of Commons ignored the Prime Minister’s plea to support her plan and threw it out by 432 votes to 202. An earlier attempt by a maverick Tory Brexiteer to appease the Democratic Unionists on the post-Brexit Irish border question by calling on the Government to assert its right to terminate the northern Ireland backstop measure without the agreement of the European Union had few takers and it was defeated by 600 votes to 24.

The City of London and the Confederation of British Industry are calling for a “Plan B” while Jeremy Corbyn has headed a new call on the Government to rule out a “no-deal” Brexit. But the EU leaders, who were prepared to accept the May plan, are unwilling to make any further concession.

There are no new alternatives that could bring closer London and Brussels on Brexit, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday. “Currently I don’t see any new solutions, further rapprochement,” he told the media, adding that if such alternatives existed they would have been considered long ago. Maas said that Brussels had not lost hope for an orderly Brexit, but it was up to London now to offer a way out.

Meanwhile Blairite Europhiles are calling on Corbyn to drop his policy of re-opening talks with Brussels and put his weight behind the so-called “people’s vote” — the second referendum that the Pro-EU wing of the ruling class has been working to deliver for the past two years. Seventy-one Labour MPs signed a letter which said: “We now face a moment of national crisis, where the facts and the views of many people have changed — and are continuing to change …It is now clear renegotiation is not a realistic prospect”. Labour hasn’t ruled out further attempts to bring down the government and calls for an early general election have now been taken up by many unions including Unite and Unison.

Mrs May claimed that her rejected deal was the only way forward to avoid a “no-deal” Brexit. Now she’s begging Labour and the other opposition parties to work with her to reach a last-minute consensus for a negotiated departure from the EU. But time is against her and few believe there’s any majority amongst MPs for any of the Brexit options currently being touted in Westminster.

For workers the issue is clear. Labour must stand by the real “people’s vote” that rejected continued membership of the European Union. If this parliament can’t see the process through the next one will. We must demand a general election now.