Just when you thought it couldn’t get more complicated

Yesterday I posted a tongue in cheek tweet:

Leavers will obviously be happy with the outcome, because it restores sovereignty to Parliament, which is what they campaigned for.

It is never a good idea to use irony in social media, especially as it now appears that Stephen Phillips, a Leaver, is leaving Parliament to protest about the Government’s approach to the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty.

If this is correct then it shows that he is a principled Leaver and that he understands that the issue of Parliamentary sovereignty covers all issues – not just Brexit.

I would like to have been able to post here a statement from the man himself longer than what we can all see on mainstream media. But his website no longer exists and his Facebook account has been disabled.

It appears that he has generally voted for a wholly elected House of Lords but is otherwise a run of the mill Conservative MP.

Not sure any of us saw this coming!

* Chris White is a member of the Liberal Democrat Voice Editorial Team, a Liberal Democrat Councillor from St Albans and Deputy Leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat Group.

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  • His website said that he was looking forward to remaining as the area’s MP for as long they would vote for him. Another political promise that bit the dust!

  • paul barker 4th Nov '16 - 12:42pm

    The question is whether Stephen Phillips is acting on his own or not. If this is part of concerted action among the Anti-Brexit majority of Tory MPs, in that case choosing Phillips to be the first out makes perfect sense – his Seat is as safe as any & he was Pro Leave but Anti a “Hard” Brexit. The implied threat would be of more resignations to follow unless May changes course.
    On the “Safeness” of the Seat, we would need a 25% swing, against the 19% we got in Witney, unlikely but not impossible.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Nov '16 - 12:45pm
  • Laurence Cox 4th Nov '16 - 12:53pm

    Stephen Phillips is a QC; no doubt when he read the judgement, he realised that the Government had a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting this judgement reversed by the Supreme Court. A more responsible government would have taken time to consider the judgement instead of making a knee-jerk appeal to the Supreme Court. If his decision to resign was on the Government’s failure to involve Parliament in the Brexit process as The Guardian reports:


    then I compliment him on his integrity.

  • Matt (Bristol) 4th Nov '16 - 1:41pm

    Hmm. In 2015 we were fourth behind UKIP in third and Labour in fourth. There was a fifth placed Independent, but just 5 options – no Green, no English Democrat, no hard-left candidate.

    Some questions:
    a) Is Farage about to try and leap out of his coffin again? If not him, would the new UKIP leader (if in place by then) stand themselves to turbo-charge their party’s standing as the voice of Daily Mail Britain?
    b) Will the Tories stand a candidate?
    c) Will we stand a candidate? (I assume the Greens will not)
    d) If we stood down, who would we stand down in favour of?
    e) Related to the foregoing, will this become a byelection about Philip’s personality, about the government’s tactics, about hard vs soft Brexit, about the whole concept of Brexit, or what?

    I read Matthew Green’s blog the other night about there being several stages of change management – denial, anger, then chaos, then renewal.

    We seem to be teetering between anger and chaos right now.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Nov '16 - 3:42pm

    People should notice that besides being quite ‘hard Brexit’ Mr Phillips was quite a stickler for parliamentary rights and he was also pro-refugee and attacked the government for being ‘too right wing’ in his resignation press release.

  • Matt (Bristol) 4th Nov '16 - 4:27pm

    In my post above I was assuming Mr Phillips was standing as an independent — it now appears he has not decided whether or not to.

  • paul barker 4th Nov '16 - 8:18pm

    Further to my speculation above, Tory MPs have a reputation for looking after themselves & being ruthless with failing Leaders. Of course it would be embarassing to dump May so quickly but not that embarassing, she has no popular mandate from either Party members or the voters. Added to that, May has no Posse behind her, if she is moved to the backbenches its just her on her own, glowering.
    We ought to be prepared for a sudden switch in Government direction, with or without May.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Nov '16 - 8:43pm

    Suzanne Evans, one of three UKIP leadership contenders, announced on Channel 4 News that she will stand for election here. She is not an MEP, so she is not prevented by the bar on double-jobbing.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Nov '16 - 9:06pm

    Ken Clarke MP has stood for Tory leader three times.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Nov '16 - 10:13pm

    Laurence Cox: They appealed too quickly, which looks like political news management.
    Treasury Solicitors can act quickly, but the government may be hoping that their existing arguments would be decided differently by a different court.

  • Tony Dawson 5th Nov '16 - 9:00am

    Is there a recording/transcript of the Government’s evidence/legal argument publicly available? It seems to me that Stephen Phillips is not alone among Conservative lawyers in thinking, along with other lawyers, that the legal basis of the government’s position makes Tony Blair’s advice on Iraq War seem ‘Denningesque’.

  • Slightly off thread, but perhaps relevant, my Son is a year 5 teacher and informs me that he has to teach 9/10 year olds about the 1688 Glorious Revolution as a mandatory part of their history syllabus. The kids are not impressed!
    This apparently come directly from the office of Michael Gove when he was Education Secretary, I just wonder how Mr Gove might be pondering his obvious enthusiasm for all things 1688, the court judgement and his view of Brexit?

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