The Tory government is going down and John McDonnell just nailed it

John McDonnell and Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

On 19 November, key amendments on the autumn budget came up for debate in parliament. For the first time since signing a Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Conservatives, the DUP didn’t back the government. It’s a clear warning that it won’t support Theresa May’s Brexit deal. And in response, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell nailed the situation. It very much looks like this Tory government is going down.

“We no longer have a functioning government”

Following the votes, in which the DUP abstained on several key amendments and voted in favour of one, Labour’s Jon Trickett stated:

We no longer have a functioning government.

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And in response, McDonnell signalled that this could, indeed, mean the end is nigh for the Tories:

In a statement to the BBC, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson said that this decision had been carefully considered. But it felt the government had “broken” a “fundamental” agreement and it wanted to:

send a political message to the government… we’ve got an agreement with you but you’ve got to keep your side of the bargain, otherwise we don’t feel obliged to keep ours. 

Without the DUP’s ten votes, May has a minority government.

What next?

Since the DUP votes, there’s been much speculation about what this means for the government. As some people pointed out, this is a ‘violation’ of the Confidence and Supply Agreement:

Others have suggested that the DUP may push this further since they’ve not yet drawn the full £1bn allocated following the 2017 general election:

Meanwhile, some people think that May will continue acting as though none of this has happened:

They may have a point. Because in a speech given on the same day as the budget votes took place in parliament, May’s speech certainly indicated that she’s completely unaware of the Brexit chaos around her.

Sorry, what?

May has drawn widespread criticism for comments made in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). She said that, after Brexit, EU nationals can’t “jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi”.

But behind this comment, May also used her speech to say that the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from Europe had been agreed. Eight times. Most surprisingly, she said:

Last week the Cabinet agreed the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Yes, it was agreed at a cabinet meeting on 14 November. But the following day, two cabinet ministers and five other ministers resigned, saying that they could and would not support it. Did she not notice?

Get a grip

May’s CBI speech suggests that she’s wilfully ignoring the reality of the situation. Her leadership, and indeed the whole Tory government, is crashing down around her. The DUP has stated that it will “of course” vote against the Brexit bill. So May doesn’t have a majority in parliament. Trickett’s right, we don’t have a functioning government at the moment. Indeed, many people feel that we’ve not had one for years. But May really should heed McDonnell’s words, because we’ve moved into new territory.

Get the popcorn; the Tories are going down.

Featured images via Transition Heathrow/Wikimedia and screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. If there was a leadership challenge towards May, I think she would win.

      If there was an election, I actually think May would get a bigger majority than she has now and it would weaken Labour’s influence.

      Me and most of you (Canary readers) believe Corbyn would make a great PM, got to honest, I sense the general public don’t see it that way.

      Hard core brexiteers are not going to vote Labour. They will always vote Tory. Even if they don’t like the deal, what else would they do?

      No remain voting Tory is going to read the 500 and odd pages. They see the knuckle dragging brexiteers questioning the deal and make the assumption this is a soft brexit. Most Tory remain voters will stick with the Tories, a lot of them probably voted Labour last time in an effort to stop a hard brexit.

      What I hear people say more than anything, is they just want an end to brexit, voting in a new government at this point would appear to be just stretching it out.

      Only way I see Labour possibly winning an election is to change leader and promise to remain in the EU. Possibly not be the Labour government that we wished for but I truly believe we are wishing for the stars.

      I think the whole anti-Semitism thing is ridiculous, equality has always been front and centre for the Labour party and Corbyn has flown that flag higher than any other. But the fact this story has so much traction based on little to no facts must make you question his chances.

      I love the guy, have a crimbo sweater “Jerry Christmas” with his face on. You should get yourself one, wear it in non-parisan company and see how it goes down. He got as close as he was ever going to if you ask me. Time to step aside, and for the Labour party to move more central politically, there isn’t the votes where the party has positioned itself.

      The parties seemed to split the centrist vote last time, I feel now with this deal, kind of getting the backing of businesses, appearing “softer” and much better than no deal. My gut feeling is this would mop up the centrist vote. It would offer resolution to many people.

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