Party Defections Continue in UK Parliment
Rumblings in Westminster are starting to get louder, and more public, as the UK House of Commons tries to find a path forward with the Brexit deadline bearing down on them. As Will pointed out on Monday, the Labour MPs stepping off their party at this point in time delivers quite the message. Now, one more Labour MP and three Tories have joined the independent section of the back benches.
Three lawmakers walked out of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party on Wednesday, joining a new group in Parliament that has blown up the British political landscape in less than three days.
The trio’s decision to join a group of eight independent MPs, who split from the opposition Labour Party on Monday, caused consternation at Westminster. They denounced May’s “disastrous” handling of Brexit, and warned the Conservative Party was in danger of being taken over by extremists.
Their announcement was timed for maximum impact, dropping just before the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions. In a move freighted with symbolism, the three ex-Conservative MPs joined the eight former Labour lawmakers on the opposition benches in Parliament on Wednesday.
The move could mark the start of a reshaping of British politics as the clock continues to tick down to March 29, when the UK is due to leave the European Union. With 37 days to go, Parliament has still not approved a Brexit deal.
— John Lamont MP ????????? (@John2Win) February 20, 2019
There are a lot of moving parts here. PM Theresa May, already having agreed to step aside after Brexit is finished to stave off a no-confidence vote, has if anything lost ground on trying to shepherd a Brexit deal through the House. Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t exactly set the world on fire either in past months, and his own party is starting to fracture under the prospect of the controversial Corbyn not just being in opposition but possibly Prime Minster himself soon. Then there are the myriad interest in UK politics from Scottish independence, economic uncertainty, the much discussed backstop and what to do with Ireland/Northern Ireland, custom’s unions, and on and on the list goes. And besides, shouldn’t the party rebels be standing for by-elections since they stood for a party they no longer are sitting with? Questions and the unknowns are far more plentiful than answers for our UK friends.
All of which is being pressurized by the looming Brexit deadline of March 29th, which is coming regardless. Personal, political, and all other interest are bound to get even more interesting and tense as it comes closer.