How that conversation between May and Corbyn should go

Tonight, Theresa May said she wanted to unite the country behind the deal which everybody hates. She was going to talk to Jeremy Corbyn so he could share the blame when it all goes wrong.

So Jeremy should walk into Number 10, give up his phone like we all have to, hand over a pot of home made jam to Theresa May and say:

“Ok, here’s how it is. Take your deal, put it back to the Commons and accept the Kyle Wilson amendment to give us a confirmatory referendum. It’ll pass tomorrow. I’ll whip for it. The Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid, Green and They Who Must Not be Named Because I Don’t Like Them will support it. You are free of the DUP and ERG. Enjoy your jam. Bye.

And then he should walk away in a more dignified fashion than when he legged it the other week because Chuka Umunna was there.

But I’m not going to be holding my breath for that scenario to unfold. In a reasonably lengthy interview with Sky News tonight he didn’t mention, nor was he asked, about a People’s Vote one single time.

So what’s this all about? Is May snuggling up to Corbyn in a desperate bid to make the ERG cave and back her deal this week?

It is, as Politics.co.uk’s Ian Dunt said on Twitter tonight, a very dangerous moment. The latest abyss on the road to the cliff edge. And it’s as much because of the (lack of) calibre of the Leader of the Opposition as it is the inadequacy of the Prime Minister.

You see, if May and Corbyn drag things out, they’ll miss the deadline for setting the European elections in train. That’s next Thursday, 11th April. And if they miss that, we can’t fight them and we won’t get an extension beyond May 22nd.  So we’d be back in bloody awful deal, no deal or revoke territory.

The scarier thing is that May is supposed to be resigning when she gets her deal through, so even if she agrees to align our policy more with EU’s, some hardline ERG leader will just rip all that up and it will be too late to do anything about it.

Corbyn knows all this but will still not push for the safety net of a confirmatory referendum.

You know when you are about to take a major life decision, you have to be really sure it’s the right thing. You don’t just buy a house or choose a life partner that you don’t like and think will be bad for you just for the hell of it.

Sometimes you have to look at the reality in front of you,  recognise that you are on the wrong course and have the courage to change things.

 

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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17 Comments

  • Sky News reported that Keir Starmer told them that Labour will insist on a confirmatory referendum in talks with May. I think it likely because they will not be wanting to see to have facilitated a Tory Brexit without a referendum (which was the point made on Sky News). And to a degree without PV it would make things difficult for them in Scotland against the SNP where they need to eventually make progress against them.

    It is also likely that it wouldn’t be acceptable in the Parliamentary Labour Party which has a sizeable People’s Vote contingent (along with about another 50 PV MPs) and Labour whipped for it (if I remember all these votes correctly!). Whether the Tories will hold together is debatable especially if a referendum rejects Brexit. If Labour and the Tories agree a referendum I believe it will sadly be bad for the country but good for the Lib Dems.

    Any Corbyn/May agreement if it happens would have to be negotiated presumably with the EU. I think it is likely that would mean a long delay (especially if a referendum is part of the agreement) to roughly the end of the year. I think that would mean the European Parliamentary Elections having to be fought.

    A No Deal won’t happen. It might work out fine but if there were serious problems the Tories would be out of power for a generation and so ultimately won’t risk it or enough “adults” within the party won’t.

    At the moment one has to say that a May/Corbyn agreement is less likely to happen than more likely.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Apr '19 - 11:22pm

    They get on like oil and water.
    The SNP have expressed their annoyance,
    also on behalf of devolution to Wales and (ho ho) Northern Ireland.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Apr '19 - 12:06am

    An entertaining piece, but the likelihood of it as written, is strong, as said above, Corbyn would be rather blameless for yes man to May accusation, if he backs the pv, as Sir Keir is pushing him to.

    This might work, it needs to be as written here, quick!!

  • If I were Corbyn (and thank goodness I’m not) I wouldn’t agree to anything unless the PM brought Labour into the government for the duration of the emergency and the resolution of the Brexit issue (whatever it was) was immediately followed by a GE.

    Not that I actually expect Corbyn to demand that much less for May to grant it. But the point is that the government are totally unreliable and anybody negotiating with them needs assurances that are much firmer than words.

  • Arnold Kiel 3rd Apr '19 - 6:36am

    This is a time-buying (-wasting) exercise to stumble the country over the April 11 deadline. Parliament can prevent this by insisting on a confirmatory referendum, the required long extension and the resulting EUP election participation. The numbers are there, but is there the vision and the courage?

  • They are playing pass the bomb. It is a bit like pass the parcel but ends with the bomb blowing up in someones lap. The problem they have is this bomb is so big it is likely to take both parties down. They both need Brexit to end, but they need the other party to take the blame. So if it is no deal fine, as long as the disaster sits at someone elses door, if it is a new referendum, fine as long as it sits at someone elses door, if it is anything else, well fine as long as it sits at someone elses door. A word of warning to those “panicking” don’t rush forward to grab the accolade of “It sits at the Lib Dems door”, that accolade was achieved as part of the coalition and little good did it do the party and more to the point did it do the country.

  • Yet another dispiriting thread.
    Corbyn was lambasted on here for refusing to sit down with Umna; now he’s being told not to sit down with May. What great Tory propaganda; the BBC can run it’s headline “Corbyn flounces off again”
    As for the advice to “whip for the confirmatory referendum”; Corbyn has already done that (sadly it still didn’t pass on Monday night).

    Corbyn’s minimum demand has always been a CU with employee rights written in stone. Hopefully he might even get a CM 2.0 type deal; what he won’t get is a ‘revoke article 50 ( Jayne Mansfield wrote a lot of sense with her “When both sides are dissatisfied with the compromise it sounds about right”).

    Anything that really upsets Johnson and Davis is fine by me and, as for Rees-Mogg, his comment about Corbyn being a ‘Marxist’ could’ve come straight from LDV.

  • Andrew McCaig 3rd Apr '19 - 9:04am

    Expats,
    Corbyn does not want CM 2.0 and he does not want a second referendum. He pretends to support these things because the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs and members want to Remain, but these things were not in the Labour 2017 manifesto for a reason, and that reason is Corbyn. He does want “a” Customs Union, and would claim “the” Customs Union as Labour policy conceded by the Tories. But he will agree with Theresa that the Single Market is “not what people voted for”, and is a compromise too far. Or else he will break off the talks saying they cannot reach agreement, whike not saying what exactly he asked for…

    I coukd be wrong of course, he may have made a damascene conversion.

  • richard underhill 3rd Apr '19 - 9:15am

    Patterson (ERG, former minister) expressed astonishment today. He can be very repetitive, boring everyone silly, Bill Cash without the detail, but it would appear that the ERG are initially merely stunned. He did not address Corbyn first preference, a general election, nor the PM’s promise not to hold one (as if it were in her power). Obviously there is some safety in numbers for the ERG. Tories such as Amber Rudd would be at risk in a general election, considering mainly her majority in 2017.
    Corbyn took Keir Starmer to Brussels, so maybe he will be in the discussions. What was Corbyn doing with his time yesterday evening after the PM’s televised announcement?
    A Shadow Cabinet meeting perhaps?
    What else has changed? Whatever constituents are saying about performance they are expressing strong interest, bordering on fascination, as shown in the viewing figures for the broadcasters. Watch this space!

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Apr '19 - 9:19am

    Labour’s private polling will be of the greatest influence. For Labour power trumps all.

    Perhaps they will dig out the Lib Dem May 2010 play book and do the exact opposite.

  • Andrew McCaig 3rd Apr ’19 – 9:04am……………Expats, Corbyn does not want CM 2.0 and he does not want a second referendum. He pretends to support these things because the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs and members want to Remain, but these things were not in the Labour 2017 manifesto for a reason, and that reason is Corbyn. He does want “a” Customs Union, and would claim “the” Customs Union as Labour policy conceded by the Tories. But he will agree with Theresa that the Single Market is “not what people voted for”, and is a compromise too far. Or else he will break off the talks saying they cannot reach agreement, whike not saying what exactly he asked for…..

    Why bother to listen to what he actually says when, instead, you can just post your prejudices? I
    n the run up to the referendum Corbyn was the only leader who gave a fair assessment of ‘Remaining. Contrast his 7/10 with this party’s part in wailing ‘that the sky would fall’ which was a major reason for the failure to convince the electorate of the merits ‘Remain’…

    Your, “I coukd be wrong of course” is the only thing that makes sense in your post.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Apr '19 - 1:41pm

    @expats “In the run up to the referendum Corbyn was the only leader who gave a fair assessment of ‘Remaining. Contrast his 7/10 with this party’s part in wailing ‘that the sky would fall’”
    Even Martin Lewis (of money saving expert fame) – much more loved in these parts than Jeremy Corbyn 🙂 – said “I’m generally risk-averse … That pushes me just towards an IN vote for safety, maybe 55% to 45%.”

  • richard underhill 3rd Apr '19 - 6:06pm

    The SNP leader is in London today, has had a discussion with Theresa May and talked to the media. No surprises.
    The Commons had a tied vote. Under precedent Speaker Bercow cast his vote for the No side and explained why. He referred to previous Speaker Boothroyd.
    In her memoirs: ISBN 0 7126 7948 0, page 189, she said
    “The numbers being equal, it is my duty to cast my vote. It is not the function of the Chair to create a majority on a policy issue when no majority exists amongst the rest of the House. In accordance precedence, therefore, I cast my vote with the Noes. The Noes have it.”

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Apr '19 - 6:13pm

    Jeremy Corbyn was the political leader who held the cards when the outcome of the 1916 referendum became clear.

    I hope that the discussions with Theresa May go well, ( unlikely given her previous form), but well done Jeremy on keeping the idea pf a confirmatory / referendum vote alive.

  • David Evans 4th Apr '19 - 7:21pm

    Jayne, Your sense of irony is exemplary!

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Apr '19 - 7:48pm

    @ David Evans,

    Thank you David.

    I did of course mean to type 2016.

    One can of course spend one’s time talking amongst like minded people, or one can enter into ‘hand to hand’ fighting with those one disagrees with, but who if one can persuae them, hold the power to bring about change. It is not the easiest route but , in my opinion, an infinitely better approach than sniping from the sidelines.

    If Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May do find enough common ground, it is for the Labour membership to fight for a confirmatory vote/ referendum with the options of accepting the deal or ( hopefully ) the option of remaining in the EU.

    Politicians like Yvette Cooper are chipping away, what are your ( now) eleven MP’s doing to prevent a no deal Brexit?

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