This dramatic week in politics could have ended on a tremendous high. It began so encouragingly, when
Businesses were exultant. Billions of pounds in investment funds, kept on hold while uncertainty prevailed, seemed about to be unleashed. The pound perked up and share prices rose.
All over the UK, people bored to tears by the
This dramatic week in politics could have ended on a tremendous high. It began so encouragingly, when Theresa May was at last able to announce that she had struck a deal with the EU, after thousands of hours of negotiations
True, Leavers and Remainers alike agreed the deal was very far from perfect. But wise heads accepted that as in all negotiations – never mind those involving the competing interests of 28 nations – compromise was inevitable.
Despite the opportunist posturing of the Labour hierarchy, it seemed a majority of MPs were ready to swallow their reservations, put their constituents’ interests first and back the deal.
But that was before the revolt by hardline Tory Brexiteers, who had spent the years since the referendum plotting among themselves and congratulating each other on their ideological purity.
With a peacock display of self-importance, seven resigned from the Government (though only two of them – Dominic Raab and Esther McVey – had fleetingly crossed the public’s radar), weeping crocodile tears for the pain they were causing Mrs May.
Meanwhile, their backbench guru Jacob Rees-Mogg viciously attacked the Prime Minister in the Commons, before calling a Press conference to drawl that he had lost confidence in her. He, like Labour, would be voting against the deal – and, what’s more, he would be joining colleagues in demanding a leadership election.
What he hopes to achieve is anyone’s guess. It’s easy to see what’s in it for Labour, as a successful plot to oust Mrs May could well precipitate an election.
Businesses were exultant. Billions of pounds in investment funds, kept on hold while uncertainty prevailed, seemed about to be unleashed. The pound perked up and share prices rose
This would offer Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell their dreamed-of chance to wreak economic destruction, confiscating private property and nationalising everything short of the air we breathe.
But what on Earth makes Mr Rees-Mogg and Co think a new occupant of No 10 could do better than Mrs May in forging a deal acceptable to both Parliament and the EU? The fact is their treachery puts any form of Brexit in jeopardy.
Indeed, you have only to contrast their ideology-driven disloyalty with Mrs May’s tireless, resilient and ever-courteous pursuit of the national interest – qualities that shine from the Mail’s interview today – to see who is more in touch with the real world.
All over the UK, people bored to tears by the Brexit debate – and anxious to get on with implementing the referendum result – breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief. Finally, substantial progress had been made
The good news is that the saboteurs’ attempted coup d’etat already seems a damp squib. By late yesterday, there was still no sign they’d mustered the 48 letters needed to trigger a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister – let alone the 166 supporters needed to carry it.
Meanwhile, prominent Brexiteers such as Michael Gove and Chris Grayling are standing by Mrs May, while Miss McVey’s Work and Pensions Department has passed seamlessly to the returning Amber Rudd. If Mr Rees-Mogg thought he had only to say the word and the heavens would fall in, he has cause to think again.
As for any Tory Leavers considering joining the rebellion, they should reflect that for all its faults – correctable over time – Mrs May’s deal charts a smooth exit from the monstrous bureaucracy of the EU.
Realistically, the only alternatives are the economic havoc of an abrupt and juddering exit – or no Brexit at all. Add the danger of installing Marxists in Downing Street, and are they really prepared to inflict such risks on the public?