Thanks to last week's shock election result, the PM will be prisoner to swings in public opinion in a way she had hoped to avoid. This could lead to her rethinking Brexit entirely—would Labour respond?by Jolyon Maugham / June 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
The decision on when and how and whether to Brexit is, of course, a political one—and the future is not yet set. Gina Miller, who brought the Brexit supreme court case last year, gave parliament a say on whether to withdraw from the European Union. A Dublin high court case tried and failed to give parliament a continued say on whether to withdraw. Both sought to put power into the hands in which, in a parliamentary democracy, it belongs. The hands of our elected MPs.
MPs hold the key. But they are also accountable to those who made them MPs. Sometimes more and sometimes less so.
An MP elected with a manifesto mandate can take cover behind it. An MP representing a party with a large commons majority is further from opposition. For an MP, keeping close to your constituents’ views on the issues they care about matters more than the issues they don’t. And all the while you need to remember where you are in the electoral cycle.
In her bid to make MPs less accountable to what she feared would be the changing views of the electorate Theresa May failed.
Because it didn’t get majority support, the Tory Manifesto will not, many lawyers think, be protected from House of Lords interference by the Salisbury Convention. Indeed, in choosing to “prune” some of its own manifesto pledges, the Conservative Party seems to accept that logic. That opens the door to the House of Lords to involve itself in decisions around the timing of any decision to repeal the European Communities Act 1972—the legislation that keeps us in the EU as a matter of UK law—and the government’s judgment calls in the so-called “Great Repeal Bill.”
“Real wage growth is sustaining its worst performance since the Luddites were smashing up machines”
The need to rely on a confidence and supply arrangement will force the Conservative Party—and the Democratic Unionist Party—to remain sensitive to the public mood. Indeed, May recognised this back in April when she said in the Commons “I think it is right to ask the British people to put their trust in me and the Conservative Party to deliver on their vote last year.” She asked; they said no.
And Brexit is likely to rise…