it would require two-thirds of MPs to back [an election] under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.
But as blogger SKWAWKBOX has emphasised, a general election actually only requires Theresa May to lose a parliamentary confidence vote. Because if a simple majority of MPs vote against May and no alternative government forms within 14 days, a general election automatically goes ahead. That’s a majority (half plus one) of the MPs who vote, not two thirds of all the 650 MPs like with the other route.
How likely is a general election?
Parliament has been in deadlock over leaving the EU since the 2017 general election. And with Brexit coming to a head, it’s difficult to see where the Conservative Party can turn:
- Under May’s deal, the government is on the verge of officially losing the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the ruling party needs to govern.
- Under ‘harder’ Brexit arrangements, the Conservatives risk a customs border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, breaking the Good Friday Agreement.
- Call a referendum re-run and the Conservatives risk haemorrhaging support to UKIP in the next general election, increasing the chance of a larger Labour majority.
- Call a general election and the Conservatives risk putting Corbyn in Number 10 sooner rather than later.
Another possible option is that the Conservatives simply ride out the transitional period until the scheduled 2022 general election. Under May’s arrangements, the transitional period can actually extend for decades.
Labour’s version of Brexit
What’s clear is that May’s Brexit deal adamantly enforces EU rules against state intervention. This is a crucial problem: the main difference between Labour and the Conservatives’ Brexit plans is the type of economy Britain will have after leaving the EU. If elected, Labour needs to be able to enact its manifesto, which includes public ownership of key industries, a renewable energy revolution, and a huge social-housing programme. For Labour, that’s how Britain really ‘takes back control’.
Such a transformative industrial strategy addresses the root causes of Brexit. Such causes are explored in a comprehensive study from the University of Warwick, which found that austerity economics was the main driving force behind the Leave vote. In fact, “slightly less harsh” spending cuts from the Conservatives (and Lib Dems) could have swayed the referendum result, according to the district-level analysis.
Let’s end failed free-market economics, and thus the fundamental cause of Brexit, with a general election.
Featured image via Edinburgh Television Festival/YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?