Theresa May might bring her Meaningful Vote back to the House of Commons for a third time on Tuesday. She will only do so if she thinks it’s going to pass – one barometer of this will be what the DUP intends to do. To that end, May met with them this weekend to discuss how they might be persuaded that voting for the “deal” at the third time of asking is a good idea. Turns out they have two, tiny demands:
- A seat at all negotiations with the EU from now on.
- A promise that Northern Ireland can never, in any circumstances, be treated differently from the rest of the UK
The first one is ridiculous, but I suppose if you were them you might go for it and ask for something similar. Why not ask if Nigel Dodds can be prime minister two days out of the week? The second one is logically impossible, since the only way to really promise this is to say that if Northern Ireland gets caught in a customs union, then all of the UK will. I don’t know, this doesn’t sounds like a winner in terms of getting the ERG on board to me. What does this mean then? Will there be a vote on Tuesday? Flip a coin.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition’s office has said that there will be a three-line whip to support the Kyle/Wilson amendment. This is the one that attaches a referendum to May’s deal. Okay, fine, but get this: if the amendment passes the House, Labour will still three-line whip MPs to vote against the deal, even with the amendment. Despite all the mad things we have witnessed in the House over the past few months, this may very possibly take the cake.
If the Kyle/Wilson amendment passes, we are then presented with an even juicier question: what does May do next? Will she whip her MPs to vote down her own deal now that it has a referendum attached to it? You laugh, but something similar happened on the no deal vote last week, so the recent past suggests it is possible.
Then again, the amendment might not pass. And, it may never be relevant anyhow as there is no further meaningful vote, because Theresa May wouldn’t let Arlene Foster live in Number 10 or something. There could be no House of Commons if we cease to believe in it. Maybe everything in reality is an illusion and we are all floating heads in jars.