View from the house: Parliament must take back control

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 July 2018


In my 26 years in Parliament I have never known such a frenetic, unpredictable period.

The minority government is going from crisis to crisis and day to day, in office but not in power, propped up by the Northern Ireland DUP.

The internal divisions within the Conservative party over Europe can no longer be contained.

There is open talk of a leadership challenge. Remember that it was Theresa May who decided to put hard line Brexiteer David Davis in charge of the negotiations with the European Union and to appoint Boris Johnson, the most undiplomatic and chaotic Foreign Secretary ever.

She triggered Article 50 in March 2017, starting the clock ticking to leave the EU without any idea what our government negotiating position would be.

She rejected the wishes of the half of our country who had voted to Remain and the many moderate Leave voters and concentrated on appeasing hardliners and chasing Ukip voters.

The Government White Paper is yet another example of trying to have your cake and eat it. It will be unacceptable to the European Union.

We risk crashing out of the EU next year without a deal.

I told the prime minister she had struggled quite cleverly within the constraints of her self imposed chains and redlines. But this will not succeed. There is a parliamentary majority for a more sensible approach based on staying in the Customs Union and Single Market. In the national interest parliament must take back control.

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