BrExit: Nigel Farage & Michael Portillo – Government Chaos, 17th Mar 2019



this morning for somebody with experience of political crises somebody who seemed you know remarkable events in Parliament's and you've sat there through some amazing days but when you look back at the week that's just happened so anything that can really compare with it nothing in my political career compares with what happened last week or in the last few weeks I suppose possibly you'd go to the Second World War you go to some of those extraordinary debates that led to the resignation of Neville Chamberlain and the rise of Winston Churchill perhaps you'd have to go back to that for similar levels of drama these days I'm much more of a historian that I am an active politician I'm not in any way an active politician and I have found these weeks deeply interesting historically so I think the comparisons would be with world war ii and with that period before world war one where the Liberal government was trying to get through Irish Home Rule and reforming the House of Lords and so on so this is the sort of chaos that only occurs once every let's say half century or something like that I think even more to the point is whether this sets precedent I mean is it to be the case now that you can have a three-line whip that members of the cabinet will dissipate the three-line whip and remain members of the government is it to be the case in future the Chief Whip asks a cabinet minister to resign and the cabinet minister refuses is it to be the case in future that a secre State speaking on behalf the government can commend a motion to the house which means I want you all to vote for it and then go and vote against it I mean this makes the exact nonsense of Parliament that was the champagne moment of the week for me that was Stephen but that was Steve and apparently urging the house to vote for the government motion and then going to vote against it I mean quite when you say champagne I mean you are famously a patriotic and therefore I'm not sure that we should be drinking champagne I mean Parliament is meant to mean something the House of Commons is meant to mean something if a minister says to the House of Commons yeah I commend this motion to the house then goes into the other Lobby to vote against it surely this is quite a serious development in our parliamentary democracy I mean we know that levels of cynicism and skepticism about our processes have been rising during this whole business really for a person bare-faced idli to say to the house I want you to vote for this and then go and vote against it public trust is in oh that perhaps that you true I mean the one thing that I feel potentially excited about is I think that brexit has proved itself to be bigger than the two political parties I'm beginning to think and I know we have the first-past-the-post system but I'm beginning to think that maybe we're about to see a fragmentation of British politics say an end to the dominance of a two-party system and and and I in some ways I find that quite an exciting prospect well we'll see what happens I mean you you probably thought that a while ago when you got four million votes but as you say under the first-past-the-post system blended in making a difference and extraordinarily at the last general election the two main parties took over 80% of the votes between them and this reversed the situation during the previous decades where the vote from the two main parties have been disintegrated and moving to the SNP and the and the Liberal Democrats and so on and of course do you keep excuse me and and that process was reversed in the 2017 election so we'll see that what's going to happen by the way I don't think many members of the public would celebrate if if if they believe that the future of British politics to be shaped around breaks it I would think by now that most people would like this business to come to an end and it is meant to come to an end on March the 29th and I know that you've been lobbying governments well III I'm informed that you've been lobbying governments to see if they will veto giving Britain an extension to article 50 I rather think that that would be to do Britain a favor that we could resolve this matter within the next ten days rather than the prospect of it going on for another two or another four years so if we were not allowed to postpone article 50 the only choices we would have will be missus Mays deal No Deal or no breaks it and all of that would have to be resolved in the next 10 days and if the answer was no brexit which i think probably would be given the house of commons that we have then all the members of parliament who voted to revoke article 52 bring the brexit process to an end in defiance of the referendum of 2016 all of those names would be on the page and all of those people will be identified and that would be a return to democratic accountability what it certainly would be I mean what would you do Michael Portillo if you were if you were there still in the House of Commons facing these choices this week what would you do I'm going to expose myself to ridicule here by saying that last week I probably would have voted for mrs. Mays deal because I could see that the alternative is almost certainly I think no brexit the remain as a very very strong in Parliament no breaks it has been the plan all the way along and I think they're within a hair's breadth of producing no breasts so I would've voted for the deal last week this morning I've been reading the press and I've been very persuaded by one of your fellow MVPs Daniel Hannan who I think is a very clever man and he's really saying that the deal is so bad and you know if we get into an extension of brexit that there might be a chance to do something better what so you know I might be persuadable the other way around this week what I want to say to you is that I don't think we should be calling those brexit ears who are conflicted over this traitors or anything like that for whatever decision they make I mean these are people who have sacrificed their careers and if you're talking about the Bernhard Jenkins and the bill caches these are people who could have held ministerial office but have been prevented from holding ministerial office because of their views on the European Union all we're talking about people like estimate Fay who you know had a promising a cabinet career but gave it up on the matter of bracer so these people are not traitors there are people who are genuinely conflicted with the very clear prospect that if mrs. Mays deal does not get through then brexit one way or another war running yes it would it might yes put their phones on let's listen to let's listen to estimate Vey and her justification but her change her position yes because they hole the rules have all changed before last week there was the choice of this Deal or No Deal and we'd all stood on a manifesto and I believe that no deal was better than a bad deal and I still believe Theresa Mays deal is a bad deal but after the votes in the House last week that isn't the option facing us anymore No Deal has been removed the article 50 will be extended the date has removed so the choice before us is this deal or no brexit whatsoever and to not have brexit you go against the Democratic vote of the people so government and Parliament have connived to fundamentally undermine brexit as government can I just ariza make connive to undermine brexit what she said was government that rather than to reason may well I think why the government has connived yes I think civil servants and various members of the cabinet probably have connived precisely where we are today it's it's that was very well argued typically well argued by estimate they of course there will be others who will point out that the votes that were made in Parliament last week ruling out a No Deal did not actually rule out a No Deal because they did not have legislative force though there would have to be an act of Parliament passed to reverse the present act of Parliament that says that the United Kingdom leaves on March the 29th and with some distance away from that so there will be others who say no estimate pay has got this wrong until Parliament votes to change the existing legislation we will be leaving on March 29th so some of the people who will vote this week if they get the chance against mrs. Mays deal that'll be on the basis that they think that No Deal will come about rather than yeah I think I think Peter bone thinks that that may well happen and and and he's gonna come on the showed 11 o'clock today the one thing that I I'm mystified by with this you know back in the seventies we were told it was a common market and that was a phrase that sounded quite fluffy and quite nice but it wasn't it was a european economic community that then became a european community and then became a european union and we're talking all the time about mrs. may's deal all the withdrawal agreement i met mr. Barnea at nine o'clock last tuesday morning and he strode into the room carrying the document under his arm and then sat down and spoke to half a dozen of us and he held it up he said the treaty the language that is used in brussels it's not a deal it's a treaty it's an international binding treaty and I have to say I'm with I'm completely with many of the arguments Daniel Hannan makes today I think if we do go for mrs. Mays deal right far from solving the question of our relationship with the European Union I think it'll begin a new chapter of just terrible division for all of us well to summarize Daniel Hannan's argument in one line I suppose he's saying that from this deal this treaty that there is no unilateral exit where it's from the European Union itself there is a unilateral exit and article 50 of course many people would now scoff at that argument by saying well we've just tested to what extent we have au natural exit from the European Union and look where it's got us in other words the supposed possibility of unilateral exit from the European Union has not proved very successful looking Michael Portillo at at you know when we've heard estimate veilleux's decided she'll hold a nose and back the deal because she thinks no deal's off the table some will disagree with that what do you think is gonna happen if they put this to the final vote I think that if she puts it to the final vote again this week she'll lose by rather less than she lost last week and much less than she lost the week before but I still think that she will lose and the positions DUP obviously and this is extremely important and there are people now saying that they're 50/50 some combination of assurances and money money the DP is very important it's not just the votes the DUP have it's also the quite a lot of conservative MPs feel bound to show solidarity with the DUP so if the DUP came across that would bring many more votes than just the DUP votes a substantial number of conservative votes for instance I'm pretty sure Jacob Riis MOG would be voting for the deal if the DUP were on board that's still a very big if I'm not torture all the DUP can report across but even if our and even if quite a lot of the European research group follow the DUP there are obviously some who are not going to come across there are some who think that this deal is so hideous that all the alternatives are less bad than this deal and I think that is a sufficient number I suppose it's just one other consideration we should bear in mind would there be some labor switches at that point some people who might come across something oh well look we can finish this thing I am you know I don't feel in particular loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn I'll switch across from vote for mrs. Mayes deal to caroline flynn people like that yeah ups and I but but maybe it gets quite hard to name them after that so my assessment would be too few to make the difference the deal might go down by you know a relatively small number of tens ten twenty thirty but of course in the House of Commons one vote is sufficient yeah and so does she then she then goes to Brussels of course the next I mean let's assume the votes on Wednesday within 24 hours she's going to be meeting the other heads of state the other leaders in Brussels I mean could she bring it back for a final vote in the days running up to March the 29th again and what threats could she up the threat level I mean today it's either this or maybe no brexit at all or there any other potential threats you could use there are certainly other threats they could use I mean the French could say that they they want fishing now to be part of this that we need to make concessions on access to our fishing grounds the Spanish could say that a course the question of Gibraltar now needs to be brought into play as part of conceding the extension and misses may might think that these terrible threats suited her in a way because she could come back and say not only this is an extension of two years but it's also Gibraltar and fishing now brought into play so now you really do have to vote for my deal treaty treaty let's call it reason yes yes no I hadn't you're right to do that you really do have to vote for this treaty I mean people would be so so crossed with her but then I miss just it the whole thing is unimaginable but if you're asking kind of thing get worse definitely it can get worse now there is one scenario that says that there are some of these ERG types that might vote for this package this treaty if they're promised Mrs May resigns as Prime Minister does that work politically I I doubt it I mean I think it is terribly important that Mrs May should go soon because we're clearly reaching the end of a phase I mean I hope it might be the whole thing is settled by March the 29th one way or the other but was that reaching in the face and for the next phase we need a new prime minister but I think the people are worried about the issues know that mrs. Mae is not really one of the issues I mean if she's to be succeeded by Jeremy Hunt by Philip Hammond perhaps quite unlikely but you know it'll be business as usual for for many of these people so although I think it's important that she be replaced I don't think it can help to win her deal indeed I'm not sure that any other potential leader of the conserved but he would support the deal but it's a party that I mean you back in the times of Thatcher saw a party that had different wings and and and political parties always have splits and different ways master it was a huge split within the party but isn't this what isn't this one in a way almost fatal for the Conservatives I simply don't know because I cannot see the future the issue has always been the same the issue has always been Europe and in Europe has been a curse for the Conservative Party I remember John major telling me before he was Prime Minister and at a time when I was young enough to be puzzled by the remark that this would be about 1988 he said Europe is a wolf coming up the path to gobble up the Conservative Party and so it is proved to be I mean one conservative leader after another has fallen on the issue of Europe or at least partly on the issue of Europe and and it is the terrible terrible split within the conservative party you might therefore think it would be quite irrational for a conservative prime minister to call a referendum on the issue well I don't think that yes that's your viewpoint but anyway there was another wolf coming up the path at that moment in time and yes yes yes yes so it's always been the same thing I mean you see the Conservative Party is kind of quite coherent apart from wow that's quite a statement this morning I was going to make a bad gonna make a bad taste remark I made the bad taste remark I realise that of course the European thing is absolutely fundamental within the Conservative Party and saying that it's United apart from that it may seem a little bit trite but I mean that was David Cameron's ambition clearly he wanted to put the European issue aside so the Conservatives could concentrate on what uniting them so for instance if we got through this week and we either left the European Union or we remained in the European Union maybe the Conservative Party could again talk about something else now who's to say what will happen electorally but it's possible of course that the next prime minister of this country is one Jeremy Corbyn

1 thought on “BrExit: Nigel Farage & Michael Portillo – Government Chaos, 17th Mar 2019

  1. Portillo has said earlier said that the British parliamentary system does not fit with a Brexit vote by the public. He's absolutely right about that. The whole Brexit vote was an enormous blunder, no matter what you think Britain should do. Farage should not have pressed for a vote. If he wanted change, he should have pushed for a change in the First Past The Post-system. A stupid system that does not reflect public opinion.

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