In November 2017, I wrote that the idea of having a second EU referendum was a “superficially-attractive option with very high stakes”.
So it still is, and I stand by everything I wrote a year ago about the risks and dangers of a second referendum: including the risk that Leave might still win.
We do know a lot more now about how the Leave campaign unlawfully gathered data uon UK voters, how they used that data to target adverts on Facebook, and how they illegally overspent the limits set by the Electoral Commission.
Can the UK have a general election before we leave the EU on 29th March 2019?
The UK must have a general election again on Thursday 2nd June 2022.
The only way in which the UK can have a general election before then, is if either two-thirds of the MPs in the House of Commons vote for it (433 MPs, give or take a few Sinn Féin) or if the government loses two votes of confidence, a fortnight apart.
Current state of the parties in the Commons:
EU Referendum Results Map
Last week, I wrote and posted a series about the four possible directions the UK can go from where we are.
- First, hard Brexit, which is catastrophic;
- second, soft Brexit, which is several different flavours of disaster;
- third, re-running the EU referendum, which would be expensive, time-consuming, and wouldn’t necessarily stop Brexit;
- fourth, Parliament voting to revoke the invocation of Article 50, which means an unprecedented rebellion of MPs in both Opposition and Government with unpredictable consequences.
From a worm’s-eye perspective, the fourth option is least-worst: but the people most likely to face negative consequences for carrying it out and saving the UK from catastrophe or disaster, are the same MPs who would have to vote for it.
And regardless of how bad it is for us in the lower income bands, MPs are all in the top ten percent by income just from their salary: they have a generous expenses system, heavily subsidised food and drink at work, complete job security until the next general election, and a nice golden parachute even if they lose their seats then: they will not directly suffer from the economic disaster of soft Brexit, and though the catastrophe of hard Brexit might hit them, they’re better insulated against it than most.
I was tweeting away on Brexit using the #bbcqt hashtag as usual on Thursday nights, when Will Harris, a freelance journalist making radio at @BBC5live, tweeted me asking for a DM. So I did… and not long after midnight, I was on BBC Radio Five live, giving whoever’s up after midnight five minutes of my views on Brexit. (If you want to listen to me, for the next 28 days you can find me on BBC iPlayer, Question Time Extra Time on Radio 5 Live, the 19/10/2017 show, 2 hours 26 minutes in.)
What I’d been asked to respond to was a question on the Dimbleby programme itself: is no deal better than a bad deal?
“Guess what we’re doing on 8th June 2017?” I asked.
“I dunno,” said the love of my life, busy with her coursework.
“Having a general election.”
Theresa May today announced (following a cabinet meeting) that she would hold a “snap general election” on 8th June 2017.
If you want to read her claimed reasons for doing so, her full statement is available.
Why I think you should contact your MP to ask them to vote against Theresa May’s Article 50 bill – whether your MP is pro or anti Brexit.
Theresa May claimed as Crown Prerogative the right to invoke Article 50 and take the UK out of the EU without consulting Parliament.
The Supreme Court has ruled, as matter of constitutional law, that she’s wrong: Parliament is sovereign, and only Parliament can take the UK out of the EU.
So Theresa May has had written a very short bill which will by Parliamentary vote give her the right to invoke Article 50 without further consultation.
Way to miss the point, Prime Minister.
This is the full text of the bill Theresa May has published today, two days after the Supreme Court ruled she couldn’t just use her Crown prerogatives to invoke Article 50:
Confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
Filed under Brexit, Politics
“Does anyone know why the UK is leaving the EU?” someone asked.
This was my answer:
From where I’m sitting, the UK is leaving the EU because, in no particular order: