After months and months of deadlocked negotiations between the UK government and the EU (along with some pretty testy arguments within the Tory party), Theresa May recently revealed her final Brexit deal proposal.
Called a ‘facilitated customs arrangement,’ the Chequers plan seemed to be a compromise position between Remainers and hardcore Brexiteers in the cabinet and in her party.
But, unlucky for the perennially hapless PM, the wheels started to fall off her ramshackle plan almost immediately.
First, Brexit minister David Davis resigned. Next went Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. And then, in a final surprise insult, visiting US president Donald Trump twisted the knife by hammering May on her Brexit proposal (although not before he was offended by the #TrumpBaby blimp).
And today a fresh front of assault on the Chequers deal has opened up from Remainers in the Tory party.
Justine Greening, the MP for Putney and the Secretary of State for Education from 2016 to 2018, slammed the deal as “the worst of both worlds” and called for a second referendum.
“I wanted the prime minister’s Chequers agreement to be a workable compromise. It is clear it is not. Leavers are right. Having read the detail, this deal is a fudge I can’t support. It’s the worst of both worlds,” she wrote in 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.
“On Brexit, it’s clear we have a parliament in stalemate that can’t deliver a clear choice for the future. So it’s time to let the British public do it instead.”
She proposes having a second vote with three possible outcomes: backing the PM’s deal, staying in the EU or a no-deal withdrawal from the EU.
Greening also proposed a system using first- and second-preference votes to ensure the final decision achieves more than 50% of the vote.
The Putney MP developed her argument on the BBC this morning…
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has warned that this latest left-flank intervention could be seriously bad news for the PM – and could end up splitting the party.
And the current crisis in the Tory party even seems to be having an impact on who Brits might vote for in the next general election. Two new polls conducted in the wake of the Johnson/Davis resignations show Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party moving ahead of the Conservatives.
For what it’s worth, Theresa May has ruled out holding another referendum.
But would such a referendum really solve anything anyway?
The truth is that the vast majority of the British public is still totally clueless about what Brexit will mean and how it will affect their daily lives.
It’s such a vastly complex undertaking that having to rush to come up with a politically acceptable compromise just seems futile.
What the public needs is much more information and much more Brexit education – and then another, more informed vote might actually mean something.
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