Tag Archives: Theresa May

Parliament should have a say on Brexit!

Britain’s projected exit from the European Union has taken another twist. High Court judges have ruled that Theresa May cannot trigger Article 50 without the backing of Parliament putting at risk the government’s planned timetable for Brexit. The decision will be challenged by the Government but unless the appeal is successful, Theresa May could be forced to change her plans.

This ruling will not stop Brexit. Some pro EU campaigners point to the large majority in the House of Commons of Remain MPs but fail to grasp the changed climate. The country in a huge democratic exercise has now voted to leave the European Union and the campaign is over. Although many MPs are unhappy with this decision they understand the ramifications of overturning the will of the British people and will accept the result and vote for Article 50.

On the 23rd June, Britain voted to leave the European Union. That much is clear, that debate is over. However there were many different reasons as to why voters took this decision. Issues such as immigration have taken precedence in the post-mortem but there were other reasons as well. There was nothing on the ballot paper which spelt out what Britain’s new relationship would be with Europe and it is right this is discussed and debated.

In this country we live in a parliamentary democracy. It was Parliament who voted to bring about the referendum and it is Parliament who should sign off on the deal, sealing the will of the British people. The government should not be forced to reveal their whole bargaining hand before Parliament but should highlight their general direction. This way Parliament can carefully scrutinise the government’s plans and ensure that the British people gain the best possible deal.

The reality is this is a situation which could easily have been avoided. At no stage would Parliament have defeated the government on this and Theresa May could have prevented this outcome by including Parliament in the process. Brexit was never going to be smooth, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this difficult. This will be interpreted as a setback for the government but could be the reminder they need that they cannot bypass Parliament and that Parliament could actually be useful in this process.

Beware the powerful back-benchers!

Over the course of the week new Prime Minister Theresa May completed her first Cabinet. There were several notable appointments, with Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary possibly the most eye-catching. A decision which caused consternation with in both this country and in Europe. Amber Rudd took over Theresa May’s old role as Home Secretary and Philip Hammond replaced George Osborne in the Treasury.

The other major story from the reshuffle was the brutal treatment of the modernising wing and those close to Cameron. There was no place for the likes of Nicky Morgan, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin and Ed Vaizey, all of whom have had big roles in the Cameron project and will now sit on the back-benchers. Gove was allegedly told being on the back-benches would be a good opportunity to show loyalty and Ed Vaizey made it very clear that this was not a good time to be a ‘Cameroon’.

As the new Prime Minister it is Theresa May’s prerogative to choose her Cabinet and select the team she wants. It is also worth noting that in these situations, you cannot keep everyone happy. Politicians are very ambitious and all believe they warrant promotions and can do a job better than the current incumbents. There will always be those who feel badly treated. Tory MP James Cleverly summarises the mood of many back-benchers succinctly in this tweet.

May is in her honeymoon period as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives, but this will not last forever and ought to be careful not to make too many enemies, especially powerful ones. The Tory modernises are very proud of what they have achieved in government and will want to see the party continue to move in this direction and not swing back to the right.

In her opening few days and in her first speech as Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated she wants to follow this tradition praising the achievements of David Cameron. However in these instances, actions will speak louder than words. If May fails to back up her words with actions than these powerful figures could make life very difficult for her and with a small majority this could be very dangerous. There could be a new awkward squad on the back-benchers.