The Conservative Party has been tearing itself apart for the past two years on the terms of a Brexit deal. Theresa May summonsed the Cabinet to Chequers on Friday 6th July for a twelve hour session to thrash out a common position. Admittedly the usual strongarm methods were used by the Tory whips to back up Theresa May. Phones were confiscated on arrival. It was made clear that resigning would lead to the instant withdrawal of ministerial limousines, and a very long walk home through the remote Buckinghamshire countryside.The resignation of David Davis, followed by that of Boris Johnson, has thrown the government into turmoil.
The Cabinet sat there all day and, we are informed, sat like nodding dogs agreeing with every word Theresa May said. Then... As Jeremy Corbyn pointed out, it “took two years to reach (the deal) and just two days to unravel.” We can only imagine the combination of careerist greed and love of their salaries which kept longstanding Eurosceptics stuck in their seats at Chequers.
Forty eight hours later David Davis discovered that the deal represented a soft Brexit and a betrayal of hopes and beliefs he had held for years. Boris Johnson, ever eager to present himself as an alternative Tory leader, followed suit some hours later and resigned. After his disappearing act over the third runway at Heathrow, it is difficult to believe that Boris does anything out of principle (or, indeed that he has anything remotely recognisable as principles). More likely he felt he was at risk of being sidelined as chief Brexiteer by Davis.
The wheels have come off. Make no mistake. The deal painstakingly put together by Theresa May represented a ‘fudge,’ as Keir Starmer pointed out. It was concocted solely as a compromise to satisfy both wings of the Tory Party. In the event it satisfied neither. The Brexit strategy is in shreds.
There is now civil war within the ruling Party despite Theresa May announcing that “collective Cabinet responsibility was now fully restored”. The PM put it to Parliament, to widespread derision, that her Party was conducting a “spirited national debate”. This “spirited national debate” is being conducted inside the Tory Party with knives and daggers. Will there be a leadership bid launched against her? It could happen. There could also be a vote of no-confidence in the government.
The right wing Brexiteers inside the Tory Party have no alternative. To the intractable problems of the Irish border, of frictionless trade needed to keep jobs in the country and other issues we have raised elsewhere they have no answer. (https://labourrep.com/blog/2018/6/28/brexit-what-now)
Instead they keep repeating meaningless slogans about “taking back control of our money, borders and laws.” They know what they are against but not what they are for.
That is our opportunity. Since 2010 the Tories have relentlessly driven down working class living standards. In 2018 Britain is a country of food banks and zero hours contracts. We can sweep all that away.
To drive through her deal Theresa May might turn to the opposition parties in Parliament. We know the LibDems and many right wing Labour MPs think the issue of Brexit overrides all others. We must make it clear that lining up to keep the Tories in office, whatever the issue, would represent a betrayal of the working class.
Right wing Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted, “TM should hold her nerve, just replace (the Tory opposition) and let them and their mates with redacted names keep writing letters for the shredder.” Let us be clear. Instead of offering helpful advice to a Tory prime minister, everyone in the Labour Party should be straining every sinew to get rid of this rotten Conservative government. This is an unprecedentedly favourable opportunity for us.
The Tories have lost all credibility. There is the strong possibility of an immediate general election. We say – bring it on!