Ok, slight lie in the title – we’re sacking off this week’s Wrap-Up because it’s eclipsed by what happened yesterday.
And to kick things off, yesterday’s story about Boris was pure, unadulterated comedy in the style of The Thick Of It.
Our future Prime Minister brandished a kipper, easily the world’s funniest-named fish, atop his stupid, funny head, and laid into the EU over the red tape and bureaucracy that meant that the humble kipper had to be cooled with ice pillows in transit.
This, supposedly, was killing off the trade of that staple of British industry, the mighty kipper smoker.
It was quite quickly pointed out that while the EU does require food to be chilled to ensure food safety standards, smoked products like the majestic kipper are actually governed by UK rules. We are the ones that decided on expensive ice pillows, or rather the Food Standards Agency did, not the EU.
Additionally, the frustrated kipper smoker that Boris referred to came from the Isle of Man, which is neither in the UK or the EU, meaning that they are free from the regulations of both.
What an absolutely wonderful start to the blog that was. I’ve never had an opportunity to talk about kippers so much.
Meanwhile, a considerable number of MPs in Parliament were plotting to smoke their own prize trout…
No-Deal Dead In The Water?
Today, 315 MPs voted against the government (i.e. the Prime Minister and all Cabinet ministers), preventing it from being able to bypass Parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit.
The majority was 41, which is a pretty sizeable one these days, given the almost 50:50 split in Parliament. What’s more intriguing is who voted in favour: seventeen Tory MPs voted to block their own government, and thirty Tory MPs abstained from voting.
Or should I say, provisional government, because this legislation will only be applicable to whoever wins the Tory leadership contest (which will be Boris).
All in all, forty-seven Tory MPs defied their own party over this issue, anticipating a Johnson-led dive-bomb towards no-deal.
Of those, there were some big names amongst the rebels, too. Among the abstainers were Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, media darling and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, faithful-servant-turned-revolutionary David Gauke, the Secretary of State, and Greg Clarke, the Secretary of Da Biz.
Additionally, Margot James, the digital minister, actively voted against the government and resigned as a matter of principle.
Finally, Jeremy Hunt forgot to vote.
Jesus Wept. “The Details Man,” indeed.
So what does this all mean? Does that mean that no-deal is actually dead in the water, as I cheekily alluded to in the sub-heading?
No. No it does not.
In actuality, while today was certainly a win for those MPs who are committed to preventing a no-deal Brexit, it is merely a road-bump on the path to it.
The idea to prorogue Parliament, whereby the Prime Minster shuts it down and MPs do not have any power for a short period, has been touted as a possible means to force a no-deal through without Parliament having a say.
Seeing as Parliament has already voted against a no-deal Brexit with strong majorities, it is easy to see why a future Brexiteer PM might want to bypass it.
Today’s vote merely says that MPs can still come in to sit and make decisions, even if it is prorogued, over a set time-limit around the Brexit deadline of October 31st.
No-deal could still be passed, especially if the EU upset British politicians over the coming weeks, or the Prime Minister could choose to ignore them entirely.
No-deal is not dead.
However, the level of opposition shown today to some of Boris’ hypothetical policies, before he’s even been sworn in, is quite remarkable. Most of the ministers who abstained or voted against the government today expect to lose their jobs when Boris comes in next week, but they are clearly not going to go out with a whimper.
Boris’ Parliamentary majority, assuming an upcoming by-election is yet another loss, will most likely be three.
That, in Parliamentary terms, is the square root of sod all.
Whatever Boris does, he will need to please as many politicians as possible from a deeply-divided Parliament. Unless he decides to prey on the opposition when they’re weak…
Update: Labour Still Utterly B*llocksed
Jeremy Corbyn, who is still somehow still in charge of the now pretty toxic Labour Party, is facing a new threat.
Not only are most of his MPs turning against him, as are many centre-left voters, but now Labour peers in the House of Lords are considering holding a vote of no confidence in him as leader next week.
In another astonishingly ill thought-out plan, the Labour leadership sacked Baroness Hayter, something of a Corbyn-Hayter (lol), after she criticised his handling of the antisemitism crisis.
This, despite the antisemitism crisis being largely about failing to sack members of the Labour Party who have evidence against them that shows that they are antisemitic. Sack the critics, not the racists.
Good plan, Labour.
While this vote of no confidence, if passed, is not binding, it’s a pretty dismal look for old Jezza.
Makes you wonder if he should have dealt with the racists earlier, doesn’t it?
Rumour has it that Boris is planning an early election to ensure that it’s held while the opposition is as weak as possible – not a terrible move, but also quite possibly hugely overestimating latent Tory support compared to the newfound adoration for the Brexit Party.
Either way, it all starts next week, folks – the new PM will be announced on Tuesday.
Strap in: we’re about to experience some pretty major turbulence.
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