No wonder the Conservatives and corporate media are pointing at Jeremy Corbyn. At prime minister’s questions (PMQs), Theresa May treated parliament with pure contempt, yet again.
The UK has legislated to leave the EU on 29 March. But May refused to confirm that the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal will go ahead in the third week of January.
Meanwhile, the establishment has embarked on wall-to-wall discussions about whether Corbyn called May a “stupid woman” in the Commons. The Labour leader returned to the commons chamber to confirm he’d muttered “stupid people”, after the Conservatives had, in Corbyn’s words, turned “a debate about the national crisis facing our country into a pantomime”.
“Delayed yet again?”
During PMQs, Corbyn said:
The international trade secretary said, and I quote, ‘I think that it is very difficult to support the deal if we don’t get changes to the backstop. I’m not even sure if the cabinet will agree for it to be put to the House of Commons’.
So can the prime minister give us a cast iron guarantee the vote in this house will not be delayed yet again?
But May refused to guarantee that the vote will happen:
We have been very clear about the process that we are going through. And we have been very clear about when the vote will be brought back to this house…
Jeremy Corbyn "Can the PM give us a cast iron guarantee the vote in this house will not be delayed yet again?"
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 19, 2018
Democracy or executive power
The lack of a guarantee comes after May’s government has sidelined parliament time and time again:
- First, May tried to invoke Article 50 – the process for leaving the EU – without a parliamentary vote or a plan.
- In November 2017, the Conservative government attempted to hide flagship Brexit impact assessments from parliament – until former Brexit secretary David Davis admitted they didn’t even exist.
- Fast forward to 4 December 2018, and MPs found Theresa May’s administration in contempt of parliament in a historic first. May had tried to override a binding Commons vote in order to hide her Brexit legal advice.
- Then, the government simply cancelled the parliamentary vote on May’s Brexit deal just 12 minutes after Downing Street said it would go ahead, and after parliament had spent days debating the proposal.
And now May won’t confirm any details about when the vote on her deal will go ahead. At the same time, the Conservative government is now officially preparing for ‘no-deal’ (or a minimal arrangements deal). Critics such as Labour chair Ian Lavery have accused May of “holding the UK and parliament to ransom” with the prospect. And Conservative MP Anna Soubry agreed, accusing May of “blackmail”. In a similar vein, Corbyn said at PMQs that:
The reality is that the prime minister is stalling for time.
May’s minority administration has tried to govern through executive rule through the whole Brexit process. Now she is pushing a vote on her Brexit deal back to increase the threat of leaving the EU without a proper deal. As Corbyn pointed out, May is brazenly playing politics with the future of the UK.
Featured image via The Independent/ YouTube
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