Jacob Rees-Mogg Prime Minister by proxy?
Theresa May’s Chequers Agreement lays in tatters as she agreed to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s amendments to the custom bill. So who is the Prime Minister?
Theresa May today agreed to a series of amendments to the customs bill put forward by Jacob Rees-Mogg which are designed to impose strict conditions on the PM in negotiations with the EU.
The Chequers Agreement set out a plan to keep the UK closely tied to Brussels’ rules on goods and food but not services.
A number 10 spokesmen said “We have accepted the amendments because we believe its consistent with the approach that we set out.”
The main amendment that may well strike a death knell for any Brexit agreement is that the UK will only collect customs duties for the European Union if they in turn collect for the UK. The EU is highly unlikely to agree to that proposal.
Another amendment requires the UK to have a separate VAT policy from the EU which is fair enough I suppose but I’m not clued up on VAT laws so I could be wrong.
EU Irish Backstop Killed Off
One amendment that may cause significant problems with negotiations is making it law that there will be no border in the Irish sea between the UK and Northern Ireland should they fail to find a solution on the Irish border issues.
The EU’s backstop is for just that; a customs border in the Irish Sea to ensure that goods and people can continue to move freely across the island. This is equally important as it’s part of the Good Friday Agreement.
With Theresa May’s ideas on the Irish border not impressing politicians in Brussels or Dublin, is blocking the solution that they agreed to last year a wise idea? After all without that agreement the negotiations would have been blocked from progressing.
Who’s in charge?
The amendments were put forward by arch-Eurosceptics including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Bernard Jenkin, Priti Patel and Iain Duncan Smith who are furious at the Chequers plan.
With Jacob Rees-Mogg and his European Research Group becoming more and more vocal about Theresa May’s plans and indeed winning who exactly is in charge at the moment. The fact that the government has table a motion to start MPs summer recess early to avoid a leadership challenge shows the Prime Minister has lost all control.
The Customs Bill and the Trade Bill are due to return to the Commons on Tuesday, so an early recess kills off rebellion from both sides and give Mrs May time to try and convince a side to change their mind.
If it’s not one thing it’s another. Former Education and remainer Secretary Justine Greening called for a second referendum. She wrote in a headline grabbing article for The Times;
“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman hit back with the usual copy and paste response: “The British public have voted to leave the European Union. There is not going to be a second referendum under any circumstances.”
To be honest I am no fan of Justine Greening as she voted to remove the £30 disability premium from disabled benefit claimants so lauding her as the saviour of Brexit is not going to happen from me.
Then came another resignation. MP Scott Mann quit as a ministerial aide to the Treasury stating that he does not want to; “deliver a watered down Brexit”.
The writings on the wall? More like the side of a building
Resignations, rebellions, openly criticizing her. How much longer can Theresa May flog this dead horse? She has no authority and no majority.
The Tories often quip about Labour being fractured. That makes this Tories close to disintegration then.
I honestly don’t know how Theresa May can go on. She must know that her party is broken, the public don’t trust her and she’s the laughing stock of the world.
Public Service is about putting personal feelings aside and doing what’s best for the people. She is more interested in having her little power trip than serving the people.
She’s no longer in charge that is for sure. Whoever mounts the next rebellion will get their way and the same thing will continue each time until she goes. It’s leadership by proxy.
You cannot please everyone Prime Minister, so it’s time to pick a side.
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Frightening isn’t it