A series of confusing votes and a chaotic welter of parliamentary maneuvers over the past several days have left a muddled picture concerning where Britain now stands on Brexit. After voting to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s treaty deal with the European Union, which was widely viewed as a sellout of Brexit, Parliament then turned around and voted against a “no deal Brexit,” meaning they rejected the “Just Leave!” option favored by many Brexiteers that would involve simply departing from the EU without an agreement. The votes were cynical exercises in political expediency. Pro-Remain Members of Parliament in both Conservative and Labour parties hoped the first vote would help them escape the wrath of Britain’s pro-Brexit voters, while the second vote would actually scuttle any real Brexit. The votes have now left them with the options of either: 1) hoping for yet a new Theresa May-EU deal (even though the EU bosses have ruled out any further negotiations); extending the March 29 Brexit deadline; holding a new referendum on Brexit, or; simply remaining in the EU. The Europhile Remainers prefer any of the above to a clean Brexit, which they have constantly demonized as an irresponsible “crashing out,” “no-deal” Brexit that would be (they claim) calamitous for Britain’s security and prosperity.
Nick Boles, a pro-EU Conservative Party Member of Parliament and one of May’s Remainer allies, let it be known on March 12 that he was hellbent on stopping a clean Brexit.
“As Brexiteers tuck into their porridge this morning, they have a very difficult decision to make,” he tweeted. “I hope they wont mind some frank advice from one who is a colleague to all and a friend to some. Do yourselves a favour. Take the win. Vote for the deal.”
He followed up with another tweet: “If you don’t, people like me will conclude that you will never be satisfied, that you aren’t open to compromise, that you are hellbent on forcing the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal.”
Boles tweeted further, “We will then do whatever it takes to frustrate you. We will vote to stop no-deal Brexit on 29th March. We will vote to extend Article 50 for a few months. And we will then work with opposition parties to build a majority for a softer Brexit deal.”
Boles and other MPs, in both the Conservative and Labour parties, have proven over and over again that they are willing to “do whatever it takes” to frustrate not only their Brexiteer colleagues in Parliament, but to frustrate as well the will of the British people and the rule of law.
Conservative MP Daniel Hannan (see our earlier video interview with Hannan here) slammed his fellow MPs who voted against leaving the EU on March 29 without a May-EU deal. “Eighty-six per cent of MPs were elected in 2017 on manifestos promising to honour the referendum result,” he tweeted. “Now Labour — helped by a handful of Tory Euro-zealots — have gone back on those promises. This goes beyond Brexit: they are delegitimising our system of government.”
In a Sky News television interview outside of Parliament following the no-deal vote, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP, chairman of the European Research Group, and a leading Brexiteer, explained that the vote was an attempt by Remainers to evade the clear “rule of law” regarding Brexit. He also explained the confusing amendment reversals and parliamentary shenanigans that had taken place. Now that the parliamentary vote “takes no-deal off the table, completely, where does that leave you?” the Sky News reporter asked. Rees-Mogg responded that fortunately, the vote does not take a no-deal Brexit off the table “because we live under a system of law and a motion passed in Parliament does not override the law.” He pointed out that the Withdrawal Act passed by Parliament in 2018, as well as Article 50 of the EU treaty require that the U.K. leave the EU on March 29 regardless of whether or not the U.K. and EU have been able to work out a departure deal.
“The Withdrawal Act means that we leave on the 29th of March, under UK law,” Rees-Mogg noted. “And the Article 50 Act means that we leave on March 29 under EU law. If Parliamentary motions concocted the night before changed our laws, we would live under a totally arbitrary system of government. Fortunately we don’t; we have a constitutional system of rules. So, this vote is very interesting and the government may or may not pay attention to it, but it is not binding, it is not law.”
Nevertheless, law or no law, Theresa May and her cohorts in Parliament, the British media, academia, and the globalist corporations and think tanks are determined to stop Brexit by one means or another.
Trail of deception
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s long trail of deception and broken promises concerning Brexit is a textbook case study in political deceit and betrayal. (See here, here, and here.) For nearly three years, she has shuttled back and forth between London, Brussels, Strasbourg, Paris, and Bonn, “negotiating” with her EU counterparts and devising devious documents intended to deceive the British people into believing that Brexit is being faithfully implemented, when, in fact, her deals would put them in an even worse state: permanently trapped in the EU, but without any voting rights.
Meanwhile, her government has intentionally neglected to make preparations for the U.K.’s separation from the EU so that a new Project Fear could create panic and “buyer’s remorse” among voters over the supposed crisis caused by Brexit.
May repeatedly tried to dupe Parliament into approving her fraudulent dealings with Brussels. On the eve of the March 12 vote that saw her deal with the EU go down in flames in Parliement, she had rushed off to Brussels again. Following a late night conference with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, she had returned brandishing three documents. One of the documents, she claimed, was a “legally binding” protocol that would assure the U.K.’s ability to leave the EU unilaterally, without seeking EU permission. However, May’s own attorney general shot that down after reviewing the document. Mere hours before the vote, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox issued a thumbs down verdict, noting the “legal risk remains unchanged” under May’s new protocol. According to Cox, the protocol provides “no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement.” Which means the U.K. would be required to get EU agreement on any proposal to leave. That is hardly a comforting thought to Brexiteers, considering the hostility the EU has displayed toward Brexit at every turn and the obvious reluctance of Brussels to let Britain leave the EU’s iron grasp.
Attorney General Cox’s opinion confirmed the findings of a three-man panel of eminent barristers: the government’s former counter-terrorism adviser Lord Anderson, a leading expert in European and international law; Jason Coppel, a Deputy High Court judge and a leading authority on administrative law and EU law; and Sean Aughey, a recognized expert in international arbitration and public international law. The trio of legal experts were unconvinced by May’s claims. “It is crystal clear that the measures do not alter the fundamental legal effect” of the May-EU agreement, the three lawyers wrote.
To top it off, former attorney general Dominic Grieve also piled on. Grieve, a pro-EU campaigner and an expected ally of May on Brexit, nevertheless also cast a negative on the vaunted May-EU protocol. “I have had the chance to look at the document produced last night,” he said, “and I’m quite clear in my mind it does not allow the UK to terminate the backstop in the event of a breakdown in negotiation; it does not allow the UK to terminate the backstop at a time of its own choosing. The advice issued today from Lord Anderson, Jason Coppel and Sean Aughey reinforces my view.”
And yet another crushing blow: A “Star Chamber” of eight legal experts assembled by the European Research Group and the Democratic Unionist Party came to virtually the same conclusion as Cox, Grieve, and the three-man panel. Led by Sir William Cash MP, the Star Chamber includes Nigel Dodds (DUP), David Jones, Dominic Raab, Suella Braverman, Michael Tomlinson, Robert Courts, and Martin Howe, QC. The analysis and combined opinions of all the authorities mentioned above should have driven a stake through the heart of the efforts to derail Brexit. But the story is far from over.
Richard Tice, the co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, did not mince words, charging that Prime Minister May is “conning” the country. Tice called on Parliament to ignore the new documents concocted by May and Juncker. “Exit is NOT unilateral nor effective: have to prove bad faith (almost impossible) & convince arbitration panel of EU folk, still subject to ECJ [European Court of Justice],” he tweeted. “PM is conning us all,” he said. “Still means NI [Northern Ireland] treated differently to the rest of UK. Still the worst deal in history.” Tice’s sentiments are widely shared across Britain and across the political spectrum. However, May continues to press on, indicating that her conning efforts are far from over.