Clive Lewis For Norwich South
A number of people have asked, quite legitimately, why Labour isn’t joining the SNP and Lib Dems in calling for a confidence vote in the Govt, given today’s shambolic, cancelled Brexit Withdrawal vote.
For anyone watching the Commons today it was clear the Tories are rallying around this postponement. They were always going to implode after the crushing defeat and then would have been the opportune time to call the confidence vote.
But by forcing the issue now, as satisfying as that would be, all we would likely do is see the attempt defeated and Theresa May and her Govt strengthened.
Labour believes this incompetent Govt incapable of resolving the issue of Brexit one way or another. Hence forcing the issue down the path of a general election and letting people decide what happens next.
Failing that, and I’m quite clear about this, a Public Vote must, at the most opportune time, be called. Because by then it will be clear Parliament is incapable of resolving this critical issue by other means.
Clearly, time is a critical factor. The Article 50 clock is still ticking. If that means revoking Article 50, as the European Court maintains is legally possible, then so be it. Whatever it takes to avoid a hard Brexit and give the country a chance to resolve what has become a national humiliation.
This notion the prime minister has attempted to portray – that somehow her deal is an ultimatum, that you have to take her deal or there’s no deal – well thanks to today’s ECJ ruling that is no longer the case.
The ball is increasingly in Parliament’s and not Theresa May’s court. But I start this comment where I began it. Because of the numbers, it will likely take ALL opposition parties plus some on the Govt benches to achieve any of this. Defeating the govt on any issue, especially something as momentous as a general election, PV or revoking Article 50, will require a degree of desperation, irreconcilable Tory divisions and courage.
May you live in interesting times…