Monday, April 15, 2024
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If Boris goes for May’s lousy deal, the Brexit Party will fight him tooth and nail


IT’S been one heck of a week. According to the Times, at least one cabinet minister fears civil unrest if Brexit is not delivered. At the same time the EU is refusing to negotiate, in effect leaving the country the options of either agreeing Mrs May’s thrice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement, extending the Article 50 process or leaving with no deal.

Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is not Brexit at all, as explained last week in TCW. The European Court of Justice remains in charge, we don’t get our fishing grounds back, we remain in the single market etc, etc. Read all 599 pages of it, plus the Political Declaration, and weep.

If the EU is not prepared to negotiate, there is no point in extending the deadline. This is a trap, as in December further provisions of the Lisbon Treaty start to bite, handing a large chunk of foreign and defence policy to the EU. (This is the treaty on which, you may recall, Gordon Brown considered giving us a referendum but didn’t. The Irish did have a referendum, voted against and then, following some haggling, voted in favour at a second referendum. Sound familiar?)

So the only way to leave would be a clean break. This is important: following three years of negotiation (being charitable, I’ll assume everyone was using their best endeavours), the options are a clean Brexit or no Brexit at all. Yet, in spite of 80 per cent of MPs being elected on a manifesto commitment to implement the result of the referendum, Parliament has sought to prevent a clean-break Brexit.

It is this brazen, self-justifying dishonesty and abuse of process that strikes at the heart of our democracy. Worse, it refuses to do the only sensible, honourable and decent thing and trigger a general election. Rather they wish to install a ‘caretaker’ prime minister. Nicola Sturgeon (who has no role in Westminster, but seems to think she runs it) has called for that person to be Jeremy Corbyn. Quite how that could be construed as a legitimate process, when the electorate comprehensively rejected his party at the 2017 election, defies analysis, but no doubt Mr Speaker Bercow will find a way.

Of course, what should happen is that we hold a general election. But, perhaps understandably given their recent conduct, there are very few MPs who want to go anywhere near a ballot box. As the Spectator elegantly puts it, Parliament has become a place where MPs hide from the electorate.

I was at a Brexit Party rally on Thursday; while other parties have conferences that few can get to, the Brexit Party leadership travels the country to meet and speak to everyone and anyone who wants to show up. In spite of the vitriol and abuse of some of the Remain community, we Brexiteers are not afraid of the public or the electorate.

If Boris can deliver Brexit (which of the options available means a clean break) by 31 October, good luck to him and more power to his elbow. If there is an election and Boris commits to Brexit (not a tweak of Mrs May’s appalling agreement) the Brexit Party will work with the Conservatives to deliver a leave majority as Nigel Farage has consistently said on stage, in open forum and in private. In Thursday’s speech he again mentioned that the Brexit Party would work with anyone supporting Brexit.

The offer of an electoral pact was reported here. The Conservatives rejected it no doubt because it would in effect have meant the end of their ‘remain wing’, and finally split the party.

If Boris Johnson seeks to pass off Mrs May’s deal as Brexit in the hope of saving the Conservative party, the Brexit Party will fight him, placing country before party or individual ambition.

The array of parliamentary candidates – yes, at 24 weeks old the Brexit Party now has candidates for every constituency and the infrastructure to fight and win – at the rally was impressively diverse (sorry, Jon Snow, get out of the studio and do a reality check), as was the audience. Brexit Party candidates have based their lives so far in the real world, not the Westminster bubble. I met teachers, doctors, ex-servicemen, company owners and taxi drivers, all of whom have put their lives on hold to sort this mess out.

The language was measured. This is not the tearful, spittle-flecked anger of a Leftie student, nor the histrionics of a Labour MP, nor the raging imprecise threats of King Lear. This is the deep, sincere, measured, controlled fury of what was once ‘middle England’ who refuse to have their democratic rights removed by self-interested, morally bankrupt, professional politicians.

Our MPs would do well to read Kipling’s Norman and Saxon and understand this:

The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.

But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.

When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,

And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

The past week has been anything but fair dealing with the 17.4million who voted to leave.

A leave alliance, in my opinion, already exists; it’s called the Brexit Party. If you really want to leave the EU – and change politics for good – this is what you have to join.

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Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell is a former Army officer who has spent the last 30 years in commerce. He is the author of Net Zero: The Challenges, Costs and Consequences of the UK's Zero Emission Ambition. He has a substack here.

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