Brexit – Meaningful vote

All of today’s plans got wiped as the UK government decided after three days of debate and 164 speeches that the next two days of debate would not take place and that the meaningful vote scheduled for tomorrow wasn’t that meaningful after all. I spoke last Thursday but a number of my colleagues were scheduled to speak today or Tuesday. This effectively means that their preparation time was wasted and events that had been cancelled or turned down became opportunities missed. The latest collapse in confidence displayed by the UK government did not go down well in Parliament. The speaker can’t tell the government what they must do in circumstances like this but it was clear he was less than happy with the way parliament had been directed and expected better of the government. As I write this we are no further forward and as the vote has been cancelled we are technically further back than we should be. The Prime Minister was clear why she was cancelling the vote “if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin”. The key word in that statement is ‘significant’. The government expected to lose the vote but, by voting, all MPs would have expressed their intentions. The government whips would then have a few days to bully or bribe their members into changing their allegiance. But the number of Conservative and Unionists prepared to rebel against their own government was so large that the whips knew they wouldn’t win a second vote. Now they are buying time. The stumbling block identified by the government in the prime Minister’s statement is the Northern Ireland border. This is no surprise as the government bought the DUP votes for one billion pounds after the 2017 election and the DUP are not happy campers. The Conservative and Unionist slogan of ‘Strong and Stable’ looks more ridiculous every day. The Prime Minister’s deal should come before the House of Commons immediately so that it can be voted down and we can replace Tory chaos with a solution that will protect jobs, living standards and Scotland’s place in Europe.