David Cameron faces mounting Tory rebellion on eve of the elections


David Cameron faces a mounting rebellion from his own backbenchers over accepting more refugee children, just a day before the local elections. On top of this, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a flagship US-EU free trade deal Cameron has been championing for years, has been stopped in its tracks by the French president.

Last week, the government voted to reject 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children by a majority of just 18. So this group of up to 30 Tory rebels is a clincher.

Cameron’s skinny parliamentary majority is forcing him to listen intently to rebels throughout his tenure.

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, the Prime Minister continued to act as if the unaccompanied children are safe because they are already in Europe. However, Europol estimates that 10,000 refugee children are missing – now likely set for a life of sexual abuse, slavery or both. Voting against saving innocent children from this fate is a vote against one’s own humanity.

Fortunately, Cameron has now confirmed a climbdown, but the details are unspecified:

France rejects Cameron’s flagship policy

Not only is the Prime Minister backtracking over his refugee policy the day before the local elections, but TTIP has hit a brick wall.

On Tuesday, François Hollande said he would reject TTIP in its current form. Opposition from the third largest EU economy is a crushing blow for Cameron, who claimed he would put “rocket boosters” behind it.

On 1 May, Greenpeace leaked documents confirming critics’ worst suspicions about the deal:

  • It is a huge transfer of democratic power from people to US big business. American corporate giants will have the power to sue EU governments over lost profits.
  • It disposes of environmental legislation, in favour of corporate profit.
  • The NHS could be completely sold off.
  • The end of the ‘Precautionary Principle’. This means that products, actions or policies will no longer require scientific proof to back them up, in the face of suspected risk to public health or the environment.

In July 2015, Cameron said we would “rue the day” we defeat TTIP – dismissing opposition as fearmongering. But in light of the recent leaks, it seems the only people who will “rue the day” are the US multinational corporations Cameron appears to be trying to help.

Tory turmoil seems never ending

Since mid-March, things have not looked good for the Cameron leadership. First, we had Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation and public denouncement of austerity. Then we had the Panama Papers revelations, leading to Cameron’s admission that he profited from tax dodging and culminating in widespread calls for his resignation from within Westminster and the public sphere.

More recently, Cameron’s ‘workfare’ policy was defeated in the Supreme Court. This was a major loss, as the government’s Work Experience ProgrammeSector Based Work AcademiesCommunity Action ProgrammeMandatory Work Activity scheme and The Work Programme all fall into this category.

And now, Cameron is facing a mounting rebellion from his own backbenchers, his beloved TTIP is in ruin, and Jeremy Corbyn has been making gains. All right before the local elections.

Get involved!

– Remember to vote in the local elections on Thursday 5 May.

Featured image via Twitter.

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