December election plan looks like a runner.

Politically, Remainers appear to have overplayed their hand by rejecting an election back in September. Doing so catalysed Johnson’s drive for a deal and they now find themselves staring at the possibility of Parliament ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. This may be their last chance to stop Brexit, so the sooner Britain heads to the polls, the better for them.

And, of course, it allows both the SNP and the Lib Dems to humiliate Labour and force them into the pre-Brexit election that a large part of the party is desperate to avoid. The Opposition is abysmally low in the polls and needs the election to be about domestic policy, not Brexit.

– Say the right things, when electioneering –

But why is Johnson so keen to get on board? First of all, it’s a handy Plan B that gets him out of a corner. Second, as I wrote last week, it’s pretty apparent from No10’s behaviour that the PM would prefer a pre-Brexit election to a “triumphant” post-exit one.

Getting Brexit “done” has a broad national appeal that belies political nuance or complexity. Campaigning on a vision for Britain’s future relationship can only ever have a narrower appeal and risks reigniting divisions in the Tory party between the One Nation and arch-Brexiteer factions.

And political timing is as crucial as ever. Individual polls are often inaccurate, but trends tend not to be. The Tory lead across the polls is up three per cent since September, at 10 per cent, and Labour is in total disarray.

Rejecting the SNP-Lib Dem plan because it isn’t perfect risks letting Labour off the hook.

FRONT BENCH

Something had to give. Has it now?

France has yielded on January 31 as an extension date, and Boris Johnson has reportedly come around to an SNP-Liberal Democrat election proposal – the pieces are falling into place for a December election.

– French surrender –

First the extension. A leaked draft of the plan places the new deadline on January 31, but allows the UK to leave on the first of any coming month if Parliament has ratified the Brexit deal in time. Ambassadors are meeting this morning to seal it.

The clincher for the French was reportedly a phone call from Johnson to Emmanuel Macron – that’s not how Downing Street had been selling the Prime Minister’s interventions.

– Help from an unlikely source –

On to the election plan. The PM had planned, and should still, hold a vote under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) this evening for an election on December 12, while granting an extra week to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

However, with the vote requiring a two-thirds majority of all MPs, abstentions included, to pass, he has little chance of succeeding.

Nevertheless, yesterday morning, the SNP and the Lib Dems launched a rival plan that would see the election happen on December 9. As an amendment to the FTPA, it would only require a simple majority thereby bypassing Labour’s objections, but is designed to be void if the EU offers only a short extension.

Ministers were initially scathing of the plan, calling it a “gimmick” on TV, but Johnson has apparently come round to it rather quickly. Our political editor, Gordon Rayner, has the full story of the rather rapid U-turn.

– What’s three days between enemies? –

But why quibble over three days? There are a few suggestions flying around such as students being at university. But it’s simpler than that. There’s a practical reason and a political one.

The practical is that restarting Parliament takes time. MPs must be sworn in, the Queen will have to give her speech again and so on. If an election is held on December 12, that process may not get going until January, leaving very little time for MPs to prevent no deal. If there is a hung parliament, it could be all the more complicated.

A December 9 election would allow the pomp and admin to take place this month.

TAP – right in the middle of the coldest winter on record (Grand Solar Minimum is happening right now- every 400 years the sun’s warmth declines rapidly and freezes the earth)

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4 Responses to “December election plan looks like a runner.”

  1. sovereigntea says:

    http://veteransforbritain.uk/militaryintegration/

    The new exit deal proposed by the EU contains clever, concealed dangers in the area of defence, found mainly in the Withdrawal Agreement Articles 129.6 and 127.2 and the Political Declaration Articles 102 to 104. Darren Selkus, a former officer in the British Army and a Brexit campaigner, explains how a clean Brexit is essential if we are to escape the growing tendrils of EU control over defence.
    excerpt follows

    The foundation for EU military integration dates back to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Since the Cologne European Council meeting in June 1999, the EU has been implementing a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). In July 2004 the European Defence Agency (EDA) was established and tasked with overseeing the strengthening of European military capabilities. The 2007 Lisbon Treaty renamed the ESDP the Common Defence and Security Policy (CDSP). It made provisions for military integration through the establishment of the European Defence Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Co-Operation (PESCO) but maintained that decisions on military or defence must still have the unanimous support of EU states.

    If we still have our veto, what’s the problem?

    In 2016 and 2017 after the UK voted to leave the EU, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Alan Duncan and Angus Lapsley (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) agreed to the activation of the EDF and PESCO and deliberately, or as a measure of goodwill to avoid interference in a club we were leaving, withheld our veto.

    The EDF, proposed in 2016 and established in 2017, will exert political influence over defence and intelligence procurement. EU military integration will be achieved through funding and procurement. Member states will not be able to award military contracts to their home manufacturers and be obliged to take part in EU-wide tendering with purchasing decisions made by the EU Commission.

    PESCO was activated in December 2017 with the approval of the European Council. Only three of the 28 members are non-participants; Denmark with a permanent opt-out from the CDSP, Malta wishes to remain neutral and the UK because it was scheduled to leave the EU in 2019. PESCO is the driver for structural defence integration, EU strategic autonomy and a future EU common defence.

    Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and Boris Johnson’s proposed deal not only commit us to the European Defence Agency and European Defence Fund but also sign us up to Permanent Structured Co-Operation and EU military integration in perpetuity.

    At the current rate of military integration we can expect an EU Common Defence to be established by 2025 with fully integrated Armed Services by 2027.

    Our veto is spent, EU military integration is already decided and in process. If we sign the Withdrawal Treaty or remain in the EU, with a Europhile PM, control of our Armed Services and Intelligence will be handed to the EU Commission.

    Having served in the British Army from 1988 to 1998 I will for ever remain loyal to Queen and Country. There are many who will never swear allegiance to the European Union or accept EU military integration and our Armed Forces commanded by Brussels.

  2. tapnewswiremember says:

    Can someone help me please? I can’t handle all this to-ing and fro-ing. Is Brexit definitely delayed until 31 January 2020, or is 31 October still good?

    • Gordon says:

      Join the club. At the moment the EU have granted an extension to 31 January, 2020. Boris wants an election on 12 December, but Labour want it on the 9th December. My dilemma is whom to vote for, the country’s gone crazy with division.

      Like you, I would prefer to leave with no deal and negotiate later, that way we hold the chips and if we don’t like what’s on offer we just walk away. I fear there are too many MPs looking after their own vested interests instead of the welfare of the nation. Take for example the SNP. Oh dear me! I’m embarrassed to say I’m a Scotsman but division is not the answer.

      Regarding those that shout to the high heavens to stop Brexit and wish to remain in the EU, well, there’s nearly 4 million square miles of real estate over the English Channel were I’m sure they’ll find a nice little plot to live with like-minded people.

      • tapnewswiremember says:

        I simply wish to know if 31 October is definitely off the table. I would like to send a parcel to a friend in continental EU but if I do so, it will arrive after that 31 Oct deadline and if we are out, then she will have to pay tax and customs duty. If Brexit is delayed, then she’ll be OK. Does anyone know and if so, please let me know and even better, give me a link to support that so I can double check without wading through a plethora of crud.

        On the other hand, I could wait until Friday when we’ll know for sure……..
        Gosh this kabuki theatre is so mind boggling BORING

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