Corbyn and McDonnell have long hoped the twists and turns of Brexit would not just end Theresa May’s premiership, but lead to another general election – one which they presume they’d win. This is now becoming a thing amongst Tory MPs as well. Tom Tugendhat, a rising star – as much as there are rising stars within a parliament in the midst of the May/Corbyn long winter – had this to say about the Grieve amendment and its relationship to what a “meaningful vote” could and should mean:
“I think we are going to get a meaningful vote anyway. The meaningful vote is going to be either the Government’s deal is accepted in which case that is the meaningful vote to accept it or it isn’t accepted, in which case frankly there is going to be a new government.”
This is mostly a way of warning Tory rebels to cool their spurs lest they invoke Corbyn, PM, but it is worth figuring out if they have a point anyhow. Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, it is very difficult to actually bring on any election if either the government or the opposition do not want it. So while I agree that the deal being voted down in autumn, or whenever it comes before parliament, could probably end May’s time as prime minister – although, to be honest, I’m not even convinced it definitely would, given how little anyone would want the job at that point – I doubt very much it would “end the government” in the sense that Tom Tugendhat presumably means. What I’m saying is, I think both Tom Tugendhat and John McDonnell are wrong about this.
Just while I’m here: I don’t really see how the scenario Tugendhat paints could be counted as a meaningful vote in even the most abstract sense. What the Tory rebels are worried about is the UK crashing out the EU with no deal; if the Grieve amendment, or something like it, is not in place and parliament votes against May’s deal, no deal seems very much on.
Also while I’m here: I’ve written a new book called “One Last Number”, about what happens when the biggest pop star in the world kills himself live on stage, taking some of his fans along with him. It explores what can and cannot be considered real news in this day and age, and how the splintering we see within social media means we no longer have shared, collective narratives when large scale tragedies occur. Anyway, it’s being published through Unbound, where you have to sell enough advance copies before going to print. If you’re at all interested in “One Last Number”, check it out here: