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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

UK Government uses sleight of hand on a Brexit carrot

At one stage yesterday it looked like Brexit sceptics in the UK Parliament had got some of what they wanted when the Minister stood to confirm that MPs will be given a vote on the final deal.

However, closer scrutiny revealed that the promise was worthless as it became clear that if the house rejected what was put before them then there would be no re-negotiation and that the UK would leave the EU without any agreement in place. It was one of those take-it-or-leave-it offers favoured by movie gangsters, not so much a concession as an ultimatum.

The rejection of any deal at the final stage would see the UK crash out of the EU and make it subject to World Trade Organisation rules – making it of no meaningful use to opponents of hard Brexit. Nevertheless, the faux-offer achieved its purpose and the Government won the vote by 326 votes to 293.

Labour fell for it hook-line-and-sinker, hailing the so-called offer as “a significant victory” for Parliament and an “eleventh hour concession”. Their desperation to justify Corbyn's three line whip on the final bill once more clouded their judgement and their efficacy as an opposition.

For all intents and purpose, Labour have walked away from their duty as an opposition to properly scrutinise and oppose the government. Yesterday was no exception because even if the offer had been genuine it would not have been enough.

In my view, Parliament should accept nothing less than the ability to send the Government back to the negotiating table, and a final say for both houses and the British people.

Yesterday's proceedings underlined the fact that the current Government cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of country whilst the official opposition are out of their depth. It is more important than ever that voters get the final say on whatever this process ends up producing.
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