Brexit – near end game

Final YouGov poll before EU elections this week, weighted by declared intention to actually vote:

Brexit party + UKIP 40%

“The mainstream” 20% (Lab 13%, Tory 7%)

Remain parties (LibDem, Greens, Change, Scots, Welsh) 39%

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/05/21/european-parliament-voting-intention-brex-37-lab-1

This will be seen as a major victory for Brexit party but still leaves a clear 60% opposed to a “No Deal” Brexit as well as an overwhelming majority, including the Brexit party and the “mainstream” as well as the Remain parties against the only available deal.

That isn’t yet a comfortable majority for a referendum to end Brexit so it could still drag on. But it certainly isn’t a majority for Brexit.

My impression is that May’s latest “10 point” proposal is pretty close to the end.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pms-speech-on-new-brexit-deal-21-may-2019

The reports I’ve seen focus on its general rejection by various MPs as meaningless and yet another sign she is hopeless.

But it strikes me as a further major step towards a referendum. Up to now a second referendum or “Final Say” has only been advocated by minor parties and Labour MPs with Corbyn remaining ambiguous and May resolutely opposed. By offering a “binding vote” on whether to hold a referendum (while not making it part of the Bill) May has signalled that it is now inevitable. The reports mention that Cabinet refused to make it part of the Bill as they cannot countenance the Tory party having surrendered on what it undertook to prevent by actually proposing a second referendum themselves. But all that means is it will eventually be moved as an amendment, which most Tory MPs can vote against, but will still be carried “against their will”.

When, remains unclear. But I honestly don’t understand why it is being reported as though much else about the situation remains unclear.

The remaining interesting twists in the end game are whether a threat of a general election will be used to get this done, or whether an actual snap general election will be held to avoid Boris Johnson becoming Tory leader and whether Proportional Representation will be introduced.

The speech is clearly aimed at openly threatening rejection of her proposal will inevitably result in either a general election or a referendum and squarely blaming May’s opponents in the Tory party for the consequences. There is nothing either implausible or “meaningless” about that. Boris Johnson should at this point be aware that he has been defeated. There is no way that I am aware of that a majority of the Tory party or of cabinet could prevent a general election two weeks after a no confidence motion. There would be no possibility of changing Tory party rules to remove May or to hold a membership vote for Boris Johnson as the next Tory leader in such an “emergency”. All May’s supporters need to do is not turn up when a Remain supporter moves no confidence and Labour whips for it. That option means obliteration for the Tory party but has been openly threatened by its current leader. The other easier option would be a referendum so I still expect that and am still hopeful about PR.

But the pretence Brexit is still a live possibility should now be ended by May’s signal of accepting a second referendum.

The pretence ought to have ended months ago. Although even Greg Sheridan has shut up lately, I won’t attempt to guess how long after the EU elections they will continue bleating about the Brexit party’s (quite real) success before grasping that they just don’t have a majority for any form of Brexit.

With only 7% of the vote for the Tory party against 37% for Brexit party the Tory party really does face extinction at the next general election. So I still expect PR to become a live issue, though there is no sign of it yet.

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