North West London
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Review of Parliament
If the Brexit secretary’s departure threw the government into a spin, it was nothing compared to what came next. On Monday afternoon, with the ink on Davis’ letter not yet dry, Boris Johnson announced that he was following suit. For two years, pundits had speculated about the imminent departures of the Brexit and foreign secretaries. Now they were both gone within 24 hours. In his letter, Mr Johnson said the prime minister was leading the uK into a “semi- Brexit” with the “status of a colony”. Jeremy Hunt, who had just become the longest serving health secretary in history, was chosen to replace him, with culture secretary Matt Hancock moving to the Health Department. Mr Davis was replaced by Dominic Raab. Further resignations included Steve Baker, Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley. It was under this cloud that Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions took on, and were defeated by, Croatia. After which, from both a sporting and a political point of view, it was fair to say that England had been chastened by chequers. If Mrs May was in need of a brief reprieve, she was unlikely to get one with Donald Trump arriving for his long-awaited uK visit. Amid huge protests, Mr Trump decided to give an interview with The Sun , in which he lambasted Mrs May’s Brexit negotiations and suggested that Boris Johnson would make “a great prime minister”. This was followed by a characteristic backtrack, where he said he would support whatever stance the “incredible” Mrs May took on Brexit. No sooner had the president left than Mrs May was back in the bear pit of parliament. On the Monday, her customs bill faced a series of amendments from the pro-Brexit European Research Group, two of which were accepted by the government and each passed with a majority of just three votes.
President Trump’s trip to the uK added to the political drama of a an already hectic month before the summer recess
The first of these called for the uK to refuse to collect duties for the Eu unless member states did likewise. The second compelled us to have an independent regime for VAT. Labour MP Stephen Kinnock responded: “By capitulating to their proposals on the Customs and [the] Trade Bill she is accepting that the Chequers deal is now dead in the water.” Two days later, Mr Johnson decided to deliver a resignation speech in the House of Commons, in which, while praising the prime minister for a number of things, he contrasted her Lancaster House speech of January 2017 with what was agreed at Chequers, speaking favourably of the former and less so of the latter. Shortly before The Parliamentary Review went to print, Johnson’s former cabinet colleague, the trade secretary Liam Fox said he believed a “no-deal” Brexit was now odds-on. As the following articles demonstrate, parliamentary intransigence makes it incredibly difficult for agreements to be reached. With no clear majority for any one Brexit plan, a “no deal” scenario may well become a reality. Whatever happens, it’s likely that 2019 will see an MP address parliament and compare what was agreed at Chequers with whatever is agreed, or not agreed, with Brussels on March 29 as the central European clock strikes twelve.
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