As expected the Supreme Court on Tuesday demanded that Parliament take the decision on how Article 50 is triggered. Today (26th Jan) we will hear how the government intend to carry that out. Now the debate will intensify in the Labour Party about what it does.
To start with, we should recognise the weakness of the Tory revolt against Brexit. Article 50 will almost inevitably be triggered on Theresa May’s terms. Even Anna Soubry has confirmed she will vote for it. Poor old Ken Clarke looks to be completely on his own on the Tory benches. The Tory parliamentary majority will hold. That will make inevitable a rapid 2 year exit from the EU.
So, even though it won’t save Britain’s membership of the EU, should Labour still vote against the triggering of Article 50 when May brings it to the Commons in the next few weeks?
I believe they should. The issue is not whether Britain can be kept in the EU – Tory unity will make sure that can’t happen. But what is at issue is how the Labour Party indicates it will act in the course of the Brexit process.
While an assured Tory majority for Article 50 is inevitable, the main reason to vote against is to make clear that we oppose what May will inevitably include in her Brexit package.
Why vote against?
A vote for Article 50 would strengthen the impression that May has wanted to portray, that 52% of the people voted not only for Brexit – but for ANY Brexit – UNCONDITIONALLY.
In other words it could concede that the result of the referendum justifies 1) accepting immigration controls and 2) pulling out of the terms of European regulations that protect the environment, workers rights, women and part-time workers rights, whipping up national hostilities through trading conflicts etc etc.
There is all sort of talk about Labour amendments to whatever Bill the government brings forward today. It is unclear exactly what tactics will be adopted on either the government or the Labour front bench. Continue reading