‘Deeply irresponsible’ Brexit plan will be a ‘festering source of discontent for years to come’

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said it proved the success of targeted funding P

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said it proved the success of targeted funding Picture: IBC - Credit: Archant

In his latest column, Ipswich Borough Council leader DAVID ELLESMERE analyses prime minister Theresa May’s tumultuous week at Westmister amid rows over Brexit.

The old political saying “a week is a long time in politics” has never been truer.

Last week we saw Theresa May cancel the vote on her Brexit deal because she knew it would be defeated.

We saw her own MPs call for a vote of no confidence in her.

We saw her survive that vote but desperately weakened.

We saw her shambolic appeal to EU leaders to help her out being humiliatingly rebuffed.

But at the end of all this we are still no nearer to knowing how, or even whether, we are going to leave the EU.

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Among MPs there are advocates for many different outcomes - Theresa May’s deal, no deal, staying in the EU, a general election or a second referendum.

None of these outcomes can command a majority in Parliament but, because all of them are possible at the moment, no-one has to consider what their second-best option might be.

The one outcome there is probably a majority for among MPs is to stop us leaving the EU without a deal. But that is exactly what is going to happen by default if MPs can’t agree on an alternative.

Voting down Theresa May’s deal would break this Parliamentary logjam. It would start the process of other outcomes being put to the vote until one is agreed on.

It would be messy but should arrive at a conclusion.

The problem is that Theresa May’s strategy appears to be to delay a vote as long as possible in the hope that enough MPs who fear a no deal Brexit will hold their noses and vote for her deal.

This is deeply irresponsible.

It dramatically reduces the time Parliament has to decide its preferred outcome and increases the possibility of us crashing out of the EU by accident.

Even if her plan succeeds, the manner in which she got the deal through will be a festering source of discontent among both Brexiteers and Remainers for years to come.

Theresa May is taking decisions based on ensuring her own day-to-day survival rather than what is in the national interest.

I fear we are all going to suffer the consequences of this.