Monday, April 23, 2018

How a vote to stay in the customs union could trigger another snap general election

As I've noted a number of times before, Stephen Bush of the New Statesman has an uncanny habit of making political predictions that either prove correct, or that prove a hell of a lot closer to being correct than the conventional wisdom of the moment.  For example, although he wrongly predicted a Conservative majority at last year's general election, he nevertheless stuck his neck out and said that the Corbyn surge being picked up by the polls was real, at a time when most commentators were absolutely convinced it wasn't.

That said, I'm extremely unsure about the logic that has led him to conclude today that Theresa May can't use the threat of Corbyn as Prime Minister to bring Tory rebels into line, and that she will therefore probably be forced into making a U-turn on remaining in the EU customs union.  Basically Bush makes the point that under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the Prime Minister can't designate a vote on the customs union as a vote of confidence in the government.  So Remainer rebels would know that even if that vote was lost, and even if Theresa May felt compelled to resign as a result, the most likely outcome would be a Tory Brexiteer such as Michael Gove becoming PM, rather than Jeremy Corbyn.  And then the new Brexiteer PM would have his hands tied by the pro-customs union arithmetic in the Commons anyway.

I think what this ignores is that staying in the customs union would cross enough of a red line for anti-European Tory MPs that they might actually prefer taking their chances with a snap general election, in the hope of getting a rebel-proof Tory majority that could overturn what had been decided.  So if Gove or Boris Johnson stood in a leadership contest, they could find themselves under tremendous pressure to indicate that they will call an election in short order.  And as we learned last year, if a Tory PM asks parliament to approve an early general election, the Labour opposition does not say no.  What that means in the first instance is that pro-European Tories will know that rebelling on the customs union might lead to a general election that would carry not one but two possible risks - a) that Corbyn might win, or b) that the parliamentary arithmetic might become much more favourable for a Hard Brexit than is currently the case.

44 comments:

  1. "What that means in the first instance is that pro-European Tories will know that rebelling on the customs union might lead to a general election that would carry not one but two possible risks - a) that Corbyn might win, or b) that the parliamentary arithmetic might become much more favourable for a Hard Brexit than is currently the case."

    Which means a pro-Brexit government whichever way they go anyway.

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    1. I genuinely don't know If Corby's Labour are pro-Brexit or against Brexit. Highly unlikely though there will be a snap election, May will not resign. She's rode the storm of her last one even though her personal mandate was trashed and her majority lost. I think UK will be staying in the customs union, they surely can't make another horrendously stupid decision.

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    2. Surely not. But that's what we said in June 2016.

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    3. Pro-Remainer Tories might conclude there is a better chance of staying in the Customs Union if Corbyn is PM.

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  2. The possibility of another snap GE goes some way to understanding the FM’s ca’canny approach to Indyref2. Fighting a WM GE and a Scottish indy campaign at the same time is not a good position to be in.

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    1. There could theoretically be a snap Westminster election at any time between now and 2022. If we're going to use the mandate for a pre-2021 referendum, we can't "ca' canny" forever.

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  3. I also get the feeling that we might well be facing another general election.

    Staying in the Customs Union would effectively neuter the 2016 referendum result- it would be received very badly by the public who were assured not only in that referendum but also in the General Election last year( by both Conservatives and Labour) that the UK was leaving both the single market and customs union. Whatever the rights and wrongs of CU membership- reneging on 2 cast iron electoral promises would surely herald a democratic crisis for the UK. I have no doubt at all that some of the Brexiters would make hay with all that, and that there would be an increased majority for a Brexiter-led Conservative party in an election, should May be served her cards.

    For the SNP, this could be an unexpected godsend. Just say that a simple majority of seats for the SNP in that general election would constitute a mandate for Scottish Independence. Just as that nice lady in Westminster once said. What was her name again??!!

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  4. Huh? We were definitely not clearly promised in the 2016 referendum that we would be leaving the Customs Union in the event of a Leave vote. It was all to be negotiated.

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    1. Leave means leave. What do you not get about leave!

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    2. gwc2.
      I can see my influence is already having an effect. I will give you some more tips about the art of trolling soon. Remember I am trying to get you ready for indyref2.

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    3. State of this.

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    4. gwc2 You are doing really well and I know you will have the urge to revert back to your previous behaviour and it is okay to have a relapse now and again. I will keep monitering your posts and keep you on the right track.
      Remember you are not alone I have a lot of pet trollers that I have to look out for but in the end they eat out of my hand eventually. Just like my dog

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    5. Scranup cummingetit.

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    6. Eat your kibble.

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    7. Double sausage supper with loads of brown sauce and two penny onions is my kibble.

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    8. No. Kibble for you.

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  5. It's going to be a soft or softish brexit. May will put her hands up and say 'we must obey the will of parliament' while being secretly relieved that she lost (she was a remainer after all).

    Where does that leave indyref2 though?

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    1. I don't think that's going to happen at all. I don't think May could survive a U-turn on the customs union.

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  6. Strange how the remoaners are singing the praise of the decrepit uneleted £300 a day 2nd chamber.

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    1. State of this.

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    2. State of the union.

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    3. It's an absolute bloody state.

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  7. I still say we are heading for a hard Brexit, with a border in Ireland.

    Treeza was never a remainer, she just pretended to be. Either that or her strings are being well and truly pulled. Still not sure which.

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    1. A hard border would ultimately be the fault of the ROI for selling themselves out to the corrupt EU Mafia like the British did. Every vehicle that moves north from Dublin on the MI is clocked so technology is available to monitor trade without a hard border.

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    2. State of this.

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  8. As far as I know,staying in the customs union would be the economic smart thing to do but would leave the UK as a rule taker and still subject to ECJ decisions.
    This is political anathema to May in particular,who has been smarting from being overruled by the European courts since her time as Home Secretary.
    The Brexiteers know the score as well as the EU negotiators,you are either in the EU or out,no half way houses and certainly not for a state who has declared it's intent to leave the EU.
    All the talk about soft Brexits is just that,not a real possibility and designed purely to soft soap Tory and Labour remainers.
    As Scottish Tories are very fond of saying,why don't they just get on with it and do what Juncker suggested a long time ago and leave.

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  9. Though ye cannae ca canny till the coos come hame, haud yer fire till the smoke clears.
    I'm still wi Nicola. Gie it tae October

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  10. Has anybody else noticed that in her devastating evidence proving how evil the SNPbad was that the simpering Mssss kaiser didn't say that she, or Cambridge Analytica had met the SNP more than once?

    She stated that they'd met all parties including the SNP in london and had then had further meetings in Edinburgh. At no point did she say that these further meetings were with anybody from The SNP. Then the whole issue was into emails and showing who met with whom and when. Emails which are apparently no longer hers to read or publish according to the yoons. Funny that.

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    1. As an addendum.

      I see that Ruthy is now frotting herself silly over a cambridge anal statement that they met the SNP once and had more contact by email and telephone. Which doesn't in any way contradict the facts as stated that there was one meeting and they were told to get lost. Funny that she's desperately trying to flog this horse to death when it's already been turned into glue.

      Maybe she's trying to distract us from something?

      I

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    2. The Nat sis did not meet with Cambridge Analytica just for tea and scones it was to get an edge. The fact they did not employ them is no excuse. Who would have paid the bill if had employed them!

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    3. State of this and its impotent rage.

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    4. Hiya, Stormy. Bet ye didna go up tae Scotland In Union's room for tea n scones.

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    5. No doubt. Dry kibble from a bowl on the floor for our troll, and it will have been told to be grateful.

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    6. Private outsourced contracters doing work in the public sector are ripping aff the taxpayer courtesy of the Nat si government. They are not eating kibble.

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    7. Evidence? Links?

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    8. Still waiting, troll.
      Evidence? Links?

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    9. Look it up yourself prick or write to your Nat si MSP.

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    10. No evidence, then. That makes you a liar.

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    11. All the liar has are insults and no evidence. Pathetic, really...

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    12. Nah you are in denial. Look it up.

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    13. I don't have to. You made the claim, you back it up.

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  11. Funny. Scots Unionists say that Indyref was 'Once in a generation' only opportunity but Scots Tories want to keep calling General Elections until they get a result they are happy with. Another aspect of the UK's democratic deficit for Scots voters.If another GE is called then the SNP must run it on a slogan of 'No More Broken Vows' to counter the BBC/Unionists 'No More Indyrefs' campaign.

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