Do pro-European Tories have any courage?

The cabinet away day in Chequers has perhaps shed a little light on what kind of Brexit deal the government intends to seek. Faced with the unpalatable choice between aiming for full access to the single market (at the price of accepting its rules, including free movement) or leaving it entirely (at the cost of Britain facing tariffs and regulatory barriers to its main export market), it seems to have chosen the latter.

This ‘hard’ version of Brexi would mean a significant economic cost to Britain as we lose market share in Europe, and therefore revenue and jobs. We would also lose market share elsewhere, as we cease to be part of the EU’s trade agreements with countries across the world, which will take years to replace.

But the Tories would apparently rather have this than accept free movement, even though free movement is reciprocal, with nearly as many Brits in the rest of Europe as other Europeans here — and even though the bulk of migrants in Britain have come from outside the EU, entirely under our own rules. Indeed, blaming the EU is really scapegoating for May’s failure as home secretary to reach anything like her own target for reducing immigration.

In short, they prefer taking a massive economic hit in order to assuage an unjustified fear that they themselves stoked up.

Furthermore, the government intends to push ahead without a vote in parliament on this choice for a ‘hard’ Brexit, a choice that will shape Britain’s future for years to come. And there will be no debate or referendum on the outcome. The people have been allowed a vote on the general concept of Brexit, when multiple different (and false) versions of it were branded about, but the people will not be given a choice on the reality, once a proposal has been negotiated and when it becomes clear what it entails.

Can anyone stop this steamrollering?

The Government has only a small majority in the House of Commons. It could be vulnerable to a revolt by a small number of pro-European Conservatives. In the past, eurosceptic Conservatives have made life a misery for the Conservative governments of John Major and David Cameron, even when they were small in number. Do pro-Europeans have the same determination?

Given what moderate Conservative MPs said in the referendum about the disasters of Brexit, and given the duty of MPs to act in the national interest, surely any pro-Europe Conservative with an ounce of honest decency will stand up and be counted? Will they insist on a debate and vote in the Commons on which alternative to EU membership the government should pursue? Dare they demand a democratic vote on the outcome? Do they have any courage or are they a bunch of wimps?

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6 Comments

  1. But it is you who do not have the courage to admit thatyou are wrong and the EU is foundering. And given the manner of your ‘election’ such that I canneither vote foryou nor evict you, why do call yourself after an MP. a member of commons, rather than the EU House of Lords?

    • I presume the word you intended was ‘floundering’ – which would better describe our democracy right now, with the fragile majority view in an advisory referendum being inexplicably morphed into a mandatory instruction to government, while the democratically elected representatives of our sovereign parliament are excluded from critical debate on an irreversible decision of massive national importance.

      As to your dispersion on Richard Corbett’s legitimacy of office, perhaps you do not know that for countless years the registered UK electorate have had the periodic right to vote for their choice of constituency MEP. Obviously, if you fail to vote, you cannot complain about your lack of influence in that democratic process.

    • How can you possibly not know that MEPs like Richard Corbett have been directly elected (by the voters ie by people like you and me) since 1979?

  2. At last, someone from the Labour Party with their head screwed on the right way. In order to beat the Tories in the house you need Labour United behind the rejection of Bwrecksit together with the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cmyru etc. Given today’s news, getting the SNP on board may be a forlorn hope, they scent blood and May’s little band seems happy to give it to them. We face permanent Tory tyranny because Labour does see the problem the way you do. A* for trying though.

  3. Please make sure all labour mps take note of your great post. Mine is wavering even though he backed remain as did majority of his constituents. It is not the will of the majority, simple analysis shows this. We need remain politicians to fight for us.

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