Article 50 vote blows up in Labour’s face


Article 50 vote blows up in Labour’s face

Far from harming the Government, the Article 50 vote in the Commons has helped unite the Conservative Party, while exacerbating rifts within Labour, says Rory Broomfield.

It was the Left’s reckoning that a Parliamentary vote on Article 50 would be damaging for the Government. Ironically, it appears the Commons vote has helped galvanise the Conservative Party, while exacerbating cavernous rifts within Labour.

In recent weeks, some may have felt a degree of sympathy for politicians on the Left. First, remainers were left reeling from the Supreme Court judgement and, secondly, pro-remain MPs failed in their attempts to derail the Government’s Article 50 Bill in the Commons.

Indeed, the scene from the House of Commons this week, where the Bill passed with 494 votes in favour to 122 against at third reading, was that of relief from the Government benches coupled with a sense of a job well done as none of the key amendments the Left wanted were approved.

The Bill now leaves the Commons and moves onto the Lords free from any wrecking amendments and a sense that, with the clear majority of MPs behind it, peers would delay it at their peril.

For this, much credit must go to Steve Baker MP for initiating the “Keep Notification Simple” initiative through social media. Both The Freedom Association and Better Off Out campaign were more than willing to support this plan and many of our members wrote to their respective MPs accordingly. Nonetheless, the real story of the week is of the infighting, indecision and splits that have come from the Left because of the vote.

For clarity, ‘the Left’ is made up of the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour and, yes, some Conservatives. Basically, those that wanted to wreck the Government’s chances of carrying out a “Clean Brexit” to hold onto their desire to keep elements of the EU, incompatible with being free from it.

However, the Left were split. Some MPs wanted to change how the Government consulted with Gibraltar; some wanted to prevent the Government from competing freely with the EU on taxation. Some MPs on the Left, such as Tim Farron, even went as far as to demand a second EU referendum – with the option of going back into the EU. They all failed in their attempts because, despite having support across the parties, they weren’t organised and, in many cases, they were fighting their own personal battles in their respective parties. In short: they were a mess.

But is this the end of the Left?

The answer: not yet, but it may be the end of Corbyn as leader. The Labour Party were by far the most split with 52 Labour MPs defying the whip to oppose invoking Article 50. This, as calculated by Jonathan Isaby of Brexit Central, included 11 frontbenchers and, amazingly, three Labour Party whips. With dissent in the ranks of the Labour Party heightened to mean that five (now) ex-frontbenchers quit the Shadow Cabinet to oppose Corbyn’s will, there seems to be no real meeting of eyes between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Shadow Front Bench.

This may lead to revolts and descent, especially if the Labour Party is unable to rally behind either a leader or a cause.

However, both the Government and those that value freedom should not count their chickens before they hatch. Although the Government won the day in the Commons, there is still the House of Lords to overcome. The Brexit Secretary, David Davis, was right in saying he expected the House of Lords to do its job and to do its patriotic duty and give the Government the right to go on and negotiate the best deal possible with the European Union. But despite the clear message given from the British people and the elected chamber of Parliament, there is no guarantee that the unelected chamber will listen.

The Government must also not give the Left a chance to unite.

The Left is disorientated and disorganised, but politics is a funny game. They could come together over a particular cause. My concern, given the recent anti-Trump protests is a resurrection of the protests that greeted TTIP. That is not the only issue, however. There are a host that I believe the Left will try and mobilise against, given the chance.

But for now, they are a mess. Brexit has united (most) of the Conservative Party and divided the Left. The next problem to address is who will provide the credible democratic opposition?

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  • Rory Broomfield
    Rory Broomfield
    Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.
    • chrisH

      I found it pretty revealing that this storm in a souffle non-story came on the same day that a father was deemed responsible for a fine because he took his kid on holiday somewhere nice and educational.
      In other words-the State seems entitled now to force us all to send our kids in for Red Nose Day-but also thinking that it can feed all those compelled kids for nothing until the age of eleven by way of compo.
      When are we going to wake up? Education is a busted broken model which has been weaponised by the Left just as the NHS has been.
      The toffs thankfully can still pay for a way out via private schools-and good parents who are prepared to pay twice over to get THEIR kids out of Blairs Fiction Factories deserve only the best for their kids too. The rest of us need to come up with something better that state-compelled child minding excuses. Schools are finished-and only the public sector unions, the indifferent parents and the lefty media and Guardianistas seem insistent that it get propped up…so parents can do crap jobs and require yet MORE state interference via mental health, probation or childrens so called services.
      Of course the primaries and middle schools still do a good job as far as OFSTED let them( how the hell did we let THOSE nomarks into schools and nurseries-you`d think that THEY had set up some kind of school worth looking at by now would you not?). But secondaries are a cancer on what was once “education”-amoral, stuffed full of mums army nosey baggages and a state worksheet to colour in as the staff take their duvet days…oh, and plenty Red Nose crap, Michael Jackson tributes and cheridee runs way from God and towards Russell Brand.

    • redgrouper

      A pretty accurate assessment of the state of opposition to Article 50. Corbyn continues to be worse than useless. Many floating voters who oppose Brexit will abandon Labour permanently or at least for a significant amount of time. And the amendments have failed so Labour have acheived nothing. I was always if the view that leaving Corbyn in that position for any amount of time would be disastrous. Labour had nothing to lose by opposing Article 50. If Brexit is deemed to be successful all the credit will go to the Tories. If it is a failure Labour will get the blame for having done nothing.
      Despite agreeing with the analysis of the left in this I don’t agree that Article 50 is good for freedom. All the regulation that the EU is responsible for will be devolved to the UK and without the need for agreement of 28 countries it is likely to be MORE draconian and bureaucratic, not less. Also, we all losing the right to live and work in 27 other countries, use their free health care, get free mobile phone roaming, live there and collect our UK pensions etc etc. Malta and Cyrpus effectively sell EU citizenship to Americans and Chinese immigrants and going rate is half a million Euros. That’s the market value of what every UK citizen is losing – all so that Daily Mail readers don’t need to endure the horror of baked bean cans labelled in Polish when they go shopping. Some freedom!

      • Jeremy Poynton

        “free health care”? There is no such thing as a free public service. Somewhere somebody has to pay for it. And it’s a myth anyway – my stepdaughter had to buy medical insurance a few years back when she contracted a kidney infection in Sweden. Stop making things up.

        • redgrouper

          Any EU citizen can receive free emergency healthcare in an EU country with the E111 form. I used it to get tests,net a year ago from a public health clinic in Malta. I had to pay for my prescription but the consultation was free. My wife also received free treatment in Spain. Your message is all over the place. No insurance company will insure you for a condition that has already been diagnosed. If she bought the health insurance and didn’t declare that she had already contracted the infection then she is guilty of fraud.

      • Rob

        You’re a sad lying twit and transparently so, that’s why I support everyone’s free-speech rights.

        • redgrouper

          Thanks Rob for your courteous and reasoned response.

          • Your response to Rob would carry more credibility had you avoided your somewhat discourteous and unreasoned comment about Daily Mail readers in your previous post.

            As you should surely realise, it’s a little difficult to take the high ground from the gutter.

            • redgrouper

              My baked beans can may have sounded satirical but it was based on genuine comments made by people interviewed on Radio 4’s Brexit Street and article in The Times. One article in the Times actually had photos of Polish tinned products next to quotes from people complaining about having to look at supermarket goods that had labels in Polish. Some of the comments in interviews have been even more stupid than that. Are they Daily Mail readers? Perhaps and perhaps not. But these comments do representthe level of intellectual analysis of many Brexit voters interviewed by the press and media.

            • Jeremy Poynton

              Thanks for pointing out that Radio 4 is still in the business of Brexit bashing. They can’t help it poor things. And of course, a few, well selected idiots represent 17.5 million of us. You’re none too bright are you?

            • redgrouper

              Research indicates that likelihood of voting Brexit is inversely correlated with level of education. I have never actually seen anyone interviewed anywhere radio, to or newspaper who has an argument for Brexit from a member of the public which is not either blatantly untrue, full of prejudice and xenophobia or just plain stupid.

            • Bogbrush

              I’ve yet to see that observation correlated with age, my point being that older voters were less likely to have been corralled into attending ‘Universities’ to read valuable subjects such as flower arrangement and media studies joint honours, or perhaps even a gender studies post-graduate doctorate from some pre-fabricated University.

              If this means they are less educated we must accept it, but perhaps challenge the inference that the graduate burger flipper is somehow intellectually better fitted to deciding these great issues than their grandfather who actually witnessed the passage of history.

          • Rob

            De Nada me Amego!

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