Theresa May faced off with parliament on 15 November over her deeply unpopular Brexit deal. During the session, one of her own MPs – Mark Francois – gave the prime minister a cold, hard dose of reality. He told her exactly why the deal will fail. And in doing so, he threw into question whether May can survive the ordeal at all.
The MP for Rayleigh and Wickford laid it out straight for May in the debate:
Prime minister, the whole House accepts that you have done your best. But the Labour Party have made plain today that they will vote against this deal. The SNP will vote against it. The Liberals will vote against it. The DUP will vote against it; our key ally in this place will vote against it. Over 80 Tory backbenchers, well it’s 84 now and it’s going up by the hour, will vote against it.
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It is therefore mathematically impossible to get this deal through the House of Commons… I plead with you, I plead with you to accept the political reality of the situation you now face.
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"I plead with you to accept the political reality of the situation you now face"
Conservative MP Mark Francois says it's mathematically impossible to get the draft #Brexit deal through the House of Commons
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 15, 2018
As Francois says, the “political reality” is now that the party May is dependent on in parliament, the DUP, is rejecting her deal.
The DUP MPs are nodding furiously in agreement with Jeremy Corbyn as he takes apart the Prime Minister's flawed Northern Ireland backstop plan. The DUP. She really has blown it now.
— Paul Sweeney MP (@PaulJSweeney) November 15, 2018
Broken not united
Following disastrous results for the Conservative Party in the 2017 general election, May entered into a deal with the DUP. That arrangement is meant to see the party support May’s minority government in key votes, in exchange for a tidy £1.5bn.
The Brexit deal is, of course, a key issue. But the DUP’s Westminster leader, Nigel Dodds, made clear that his party has no intention of supporting her in the vote on the deal:
I could today stand here and take the prime minster through the list of promises and pledges that she made to this house, and to us privately, about the future of Northern Ireland in the future relationship with the EU. But I fear it would be a waste of time, since she clearly doesn’t listen.
The choice is now clear. We stand up for the United Kingdom, the whole of the United Kingdom, the integrity of the United Kingdom, or we vote for a vassal state with the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Oooft. Does the DUP do cashback?
— Neil Gray MP (@NeilGrayMP) November 15, 2018
The entire legitimacy of May’s government lies in its deal with the DUP. If she loses its support, can she go on? With the DUP, and seemingly the vast majority of parliament, turning their noses up at her ‘best efforts’ on Brexit, that looks more and more unlikely with each passing minute.
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