Linky Friday: Parliamentary Procedures

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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  1. Related to several… Can someone explain to me what these groups in the Parliament think is going to happen? The EU’s position from day one has been that they won’t sign a deal that includes an eventual hard border in Ireland, ever. The EU has said they are prepared to spend large sums to minimize the pain in the Republic of Ireland if the UK goes no-deal and forces a hard border. The EU has said they would be happy to re-open negotiations as soon as a majority in Parliament approves something concrete (other than an eventual hard border in Ireland). Are the MPs just down to CYA maneuvering — ie, it’s not my fault we crashed out w/o a deal, I voted against that!Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

      re the MPs just down to CYA maneuvering — ie, it’s not my fault we crashed out w/o a deal, I voted against that!

      Yes and no.

      Labour in general is mostly doing that. For reasons that I’ll get to in a second.

      The hard Brexit is voting down any deal because they don’t want a deal at all. It’s just that they’d rather not say such an unpopular thing out loud.

      Back to Labour. As I said in a related post’s comment (https://ordinary-times.com/2019/02/18/splitting-labour/#comment-3008447 ), absent very specific exceptions, only the Government can bring things for a vote, up, down, or amend (and only things that the government agrees may be amended can be amended). Though there is a very large cross-party majority for a soft Brexit, Neither the Opposition (defined term) nor backbenchers can move to vote FOR that soft Brexit Deal.

      Theresa May knows (has known since day one), that there’s a majority for a Brexit that’s much softer than the current deal -and Labour claims they are voting down the current deal because they rather have a Norway style deal, including a customs union. She also knows that a very significant minority of the Tories would not accept anything softer than her current deal. Hell, they aren’t accepting her deal because it is too soft.

      Again, citing myself ( https://ordinary-times.com/2019/02/20/party-defections-continue-in-uk-parliment/#comment-3008678), Theresa May knows any softer version of Brexit willl blow her Party into smithereens. Her only hope is to run the clock so much that (a large part of) Labour will vote for her deal just to avoid No-Deal, votes enough to counter the Nay vote of the Tory and DUP Brexiters.

      Labour Leadership does not want to give her coverage by helping pass her deal. They know (like almost everyone) that any Brexit will be bad for the UK. Labour does not see an electoral advantage in going to the voters saying “We voted for a deal that made you worse off, because the alternative was making you worserer off (sic) by allowing the worsest (sic, again) option, No Deal, to happen”. Labour wants the Tories to fully own the Brexit aftermath.

      So you have several prisoner’s dilemmas going on at the same time. If you read this in a novel, you’d think it too silly unreal. Stranger than fiction, eh?Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to J_A says:

        Tl/dr

        Parliament can’t vote for anything that’s not presented by the Government. They can only vote NO until the Government brings forward something they can approve.

        Parliament would approve a soft Brexit (softer than the current deal) on a wide cross-party basis any day. But that soft Brexit would be rejected by a large fraction of the Tories. That’s why Theresa May does not present that option for a vote.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

        So, just to make sure I’ve got this right, the “expected” outcome is that it’s all just noise until May brings back her deal at the last day/hour, hoping that enough Labour MPs will go against their leadership to pass it?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to J_A says:

        Yes to all of this. It also really doesn’t help that Corbyn doesn’t actually like the EU (he comes at it from the left rather than the Brexit right but opposed is opposed) so the bloody bugger keeps undermining any efforts to force a new referendum or any other moves that might cancel Brexit. The God(ess) damned idiot thinks he’ll be able to build his own little socialist island paradise in the Channel if he can just get the EU out of the picture.Report

  2. Avatar J_A says:

    PP11 is essentially the same case and mostly the same circumstances as Muthana’sReport

  3. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Yesterday’s UK Talking Poltics podcast recommended by OT writer John Gaston had some interesting comments about the dynamics of party defections from both major parties tending to increase the status quo.

    The Labour defections appeared to be party-within-party disputes that could serve as party reform vehicle or even a shadow leadership in waiting if anti-Corybn defections continue. Joining with Tory defectors obliterates that function and makes it less likely that other Labour MPs follow because now they are working with the enemy.

    Now as an independent Remain movement, it doesn’t change the parliamentary counts; these MPs were not getting their way within any party before and its true now. May probably has strengthened her hand slightly within Conservatives, or at least doesn’t have to concern herself with the three.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Shouldn’t this be called Robert’s Rules of Parliamentary Disorder?Report

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