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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tory hypocrisy on People's vote exposed

Every time I watch Question Time I want to throw something at the television screen. Yesterday, it was possible to see similar levels of frustration from the Welsh commentariat, as they reacted to claims by Theresa May in a draft speech, that both sides had accepted the result of the Welsh assembly referendum in 1997, and by implication should also accept the result of the Brexit referendum.

The Guardian tells us that in the original version of the speech, given yesterday at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the prime minister was due to say the result of the narrowly-won 1997 referendum to create a Welsh assembly was “accepted by both sides”, and the legitimacy of the vote was never questioned.

But when the relevant bill was put to the Commons after the Welsh referendum, many Tory MPs, including the then newly elected May, voted against it. In addition, the Conservative manifesto of 2005 also called for a further referendum on the assembly on expanding its powers, keeping it as it was or abolishing it.

May and many other Conservatives also voted against the creation of a Scottish devolved assembly in 1997, despite the referendum on this being won by 74% to 26%.

As if to make matters worse for the Prime Minister, she was due to claim that the majority in the 1997 referendum was just 0.3% when it was 0.6%. That is particularly significant because of the contribution of one Tory to the debate on the Government of Wales Bill in 1997.

Swansea-born Tory MP, Nigel Evans told the Commons that it would have been better if the percentage majority in favour "had been in double figures": "That would have settled the issue once and for all, but it did not and it remains unsettled," he said.

Mr. Evans is one of those arguing against seeking a further referendum on Theresa May's deal, despite the fact that the majority in 2016 was only in single figures.

Unsurprisingly, the passage was dropped from the speech that Theresa May actually delivered yesterday. But why the opposition to a people's vote when such a course is entirely consistent with her views on other plebiscites?
It is not about the best for the country but keeping the Tory party together. As far as I am concerned they are past their sell by date, and are last year of the past ancient
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