The second act ended with the ultimate cliff hanger, and acts as the perfect link to the final throes of the drama.
Theresa May has offered to resign as Prime Minister if the House of Commons voted for her Brexit deal as it stands, and already her potential successors are lining up for a shot at the big time.
Boris Johnson, a man who hired a professional photographer to capture him signing his own resignation letter after taking a moral stand against the PM’s Brexit negotiations, has – miraculously, now the 10 Downing Street hotseat is about to become vacant – had a change of heart.
BoJo has confirmed he now supports May’s divorce plan; an incredible change of heart which has absolutely nothing to do with the great Etonian buffoon being desperate to ‘lead’ the country, which would be akin to Private Pike leading us into battle with the Nazis in Dad’s Army.
It’s been another bizarre week in Westminster, with eight ‘indicative votes’, ranging from a No Deal Brexit to a Second Referendum, ALL being voted down in the Commons.
And May’s extraordinary promise to quit if MPs back her deal appears to have had no effect, possibly in the face of DUP opposition: the bookies make it a 4/11 chance that the third meaningful vote is once again a thumbs down.
Brexit is once again at a standstill….no change there then!
May Falls on Her Sword as Vultures Circle
Let’s face it: the Prime Minister’s position has been untenable for some time, and that was always likely to lead to her heading for the hills.
She can’t be removed in a coup until December at the earliest having survived a vote of no confidence earlier in the year, so a resignation was the obvious solution.
But using her own career as a negotiating tool in the Brexit negotiations? It’s hard to know whether to applaud May’s selflessness or chide her foolishness.
Ironically, given that all of the indicative votes failed to find a majority, May’s exit has now come a step closer with the feeling that there is a growing sense of ‘ah stuff it, let’s just go with it’ to her current Brexit bill.
“I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that,” were May’s words on Wednesday.
But once again, it is the DUP that need to be convinced on the dreaded backstop issue, with their leader Arlene Foster reiterating this week that ‘the backstop in that Withdrawal Agreement makes it impossible for us to sign up to the agreement’, which suggests there is still a long way to go before any formal bill is signed off.
Indicative Votes Plan Goes Down in Flames
The brainchild of Tory MP Oliver Letwin, the idea behind the indicative votes process was to get some kind of consensus on how the House wants to move forward with Brexit.
A good idea, in principle, but unfortunately our elected leaders simply don’t have a clue what they want.
Here are the indicative vote ideas and their results:
- No Deal Brexit: Yes – 160, No – 400
- Managed No Deal: Yes – 139, No – 422
- Revoke Article 50: Yes – 184, No – 293
- Second Referendum: Yes – 268, No – 295
- Customs Union: Yes – 264, No – 272
- EEA/EFTA: Yes – 65, No – 377
- Norway Plus: Yes – 188, No – 283
- Labour’s Plan: Yes – 237, No – 307
The takeaway point is that a soft-ish Brexit of a Customs Union, or even a second referendum, had the most proportionate support in the House.
Gove and Johnson Early Frontrunners
The runners and riders for 10 Downing Street are assembling.
Michael Gove has emerged as the likeliest contender according to the bookmakers, and he is the 4/1 market favourite.
That shameless charlatan Boris Johnson is 5/1, Jeremy Hunt is 9/1 and Dominic Raab is 10/1.
Fans of long odds wagers can find Jacob Rees-Mogg at 33/1, Phillip Hammond – who is arguably the PM’s right-hand man – at 50/1, and you can also get 50/1 about David Davis too.
As far as the next Prime Minister betting odds are concerned, assuming that May’s resignation triggers a General Election, Gove is once again the favourite at 4/1, Johnson is squeezed out to 11/2 and Jeremy Corbyn can be backed at 10/1.