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A Remainer cabinet? Tom Tugendhat, Dominic Grieve, Stella Creasy (Chris McAndrew CC BY 3.0)


What would it take to derail Brexit? Well-funded campaigns such as Best for Britain — led by former United Nations Deputy General Secretary and Gordon Brown-era government minister Lord Malloch Brown, with Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair as cheerleaders, and part-funded by legendary American-Hungarian hedge fund manager and progressive Midas George Soros — still believe they can stop the UK leaving the European Union next March. There are many more who believe that actually reversing Brexit is too difficult, but want to push Britain into full membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Single Market. This would be the Norway option — the UK would formally not be a part of the EU but would have to adopt its rules and regulations wholesale without having an input into them. Free movement would also remain largely intact. The Norway option is seen as the worst possible outcome by many Brexiteers, described by Jacob Rees-Mogg as turning Britain into a vassal state of the EU where it would have to follow the diktats of a foreign power without having a say in creating them.

That Remainers remain optimistic about their chances looks rather odd at first: not only did the UK vote for Brexit in the 2016 referendum, with the 17.4 million votes for Leave being a higher vote than any party has ever gained in any British election, but in the 2017 general election 589 out of 650 MPs were elected from parties (the Conservatives, Labour and the DUP) whose manifestos pledged not only to leave the EU in line with the referendum result but also to end free movement, thus ruling out full membership of the EEA and Single Market, of which it is an integral pillar.

So what would need to happen to overturn the result of these two expressions of the popular will? One idea that can swiftly be rejected is that the current Conservative pro-Brexit government will lose a vote of confidence on the floor of the House of Commons and that a Labour pro-Remain government would take its place. For a government to fall under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act it has to lose an explicit vote of confidence. The government, with the support of the DUP, commands 326 votes in the Commons compared to the combined opposition tally of 313, and even the Tories’ most diehard Remainers — Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry — have made clear that, while eager to vote against Brexit legislation, they would troop through the government lobby in any confidence vote. Indeed, if it was implementing Brexit that brought about a confidence vote, the Tories could probably rely on the votes of at least three Labour rebels who would prioritise Brexit over a Corbyn-led Labour government and be willing to sacrifice their political careers to achieve this.

The first step to overturn Brexit would be that Theresa May would have to be removed as leader of the Conservative Party and thus Prime Minister. May campaigned for Remain in 2016 and still refuses to say whether or not she has now changed her mind on the subject. Nevertheless, she has committed herself to implementing Brexit and stopping free movement. The Prime Minister believes that any reversal of this policy would destroy the Conservative Party — Europe would finally split the party in two as it has been threatening to do for 30 years. What May above all wants to avoid is being the last Prime Minister elected by the Conservative Party as it has existed since Disraeli. That is why for May, as she has so often reiterated, “Brexit means Brexit”.
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Anonymous
July 1st, 2018
4:07 PM
Brexit will never happen. The European Project is to be protected at all costs and Alastair Campbell is leading the Resistance with his numerous friends in the lawyering community and those in the media he schooled in "news management" prior to the Blair Triumph. Those "in charge" of the European Project only have one goal, to stay "in charge" and do not care what damage they cause to the statelets. They have destroyed the economies of those in the Eurozone who relied on steadily devaluing their currencies, (the UK is also having to do likewise to pay for the NHS and other luxuries), but only care for the beauty of their Empire's outline.

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