Saturday, 2 July 2022 – 18:30

Another tense day in Westminster

Today has seemed considerably quieter in the world of Westminster than either Tuesday or Wednesday. Though, that is not to say that it has not been a tough 24 hours for both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn after last nights failed Vote of No Confidence. 

It has been another tense day. The Prime Minister has been appealing to senior parliamentarians across the divide to attempt a consensus for her deal. However, despite multiple meetings with opposition MPs, the Leader of the Opposition Mr Corbyn has refused to meet the PM unless she capitulates on some of her red lines. He argues that unless she is willing to sacrifice some of her aims, there is little point in negotiations. This was also sent to all Labour MPs in a letter by the leader. Under ordinary circumstances, this would seem a natural course of action and a rational argument. However, Mr Corbyn has been criticised for not working across Parliament in this time of national crisis. 

These talks, although heralded as a way through this crisis, have come under criticism too. Ian Blackford MP, the Scottish Nationalist Party’s Westminster spokesperson claimed that these talks need to be about real alternatives and a second referendum, not ‘cosmetic changes’. 

Both leaders have been warned of mass-resignations. Mrs May has been told that unless she allows MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit, where the UK leaves without a deal, she will suffer more resignations from her cabinet. However, in a letter to Mr Corbyn, who has ruled out negotiating with the PM unless she rules such a scenario out, Mrs May claimed that this was ‘impossible’ under the terms of Article 50. 20 mid-mid-ranking ministers however have threatened to quit if she refuses. Indeed, Corbyn also faces resignations if he backs a so-called People’s Vote. Despite his hostility to a second referendum, his Brexit Shadow Minister Sir Kier Starmer and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have both signalled that this may be an option. However, a string of junior shadow ministers have said that they are strongly opposed to this, in fear of the electoral impacts in leave-voting constituencies. 

Clearly, whilst the cross-party talks offer some way out of this, the UK is in the midst of a prolonged crisis that is not set to end anytime soon.

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