“Playing chicken with the country” – and the possibility of revoking Article 50

Lib Dem MPs have been out and about in the media this week.

Christine Jardine took Labour to task for their abject failure to oppose the Government properly.

Layla took to Twitter to give a Valentine’s Day message – and she mentioned the possibility of revoking article 50 if we get to March 29th and there is still no deal. Like Christine before her she talked about May’s game of chicken with the country. Definitely a theme here. .

On Bloomberg, Jo Swinson took a coach and horses through Theresa May’s Brexit policy from the beginning, saying that public opinion had changed and the best way forward was a People’s Vote.


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  • We are in a slow motion car crash and approaching the moment of impact. Theresa May has switched off the airbags, and we are all wondering if we will get trapped in the burning wreckage. There is still time (just) for the People to grab the wheel out of her hands and swerve away from this collision course.

  • >There is still time (just) for the People to grab the wheel
    For that to happen, Parliament needs to first grab the wheel and invite “the People” to take the wheel. Given the constraints Parliament would be well advised to force May to withdraw our Art.50 notice. Yes a handful of Brexiteers will get upset and might protest for a few days, but the majority will simply go back to work and mutter under their breathe, however, this would be nothing compared to the consequences of a no deal Brexit when people are likely to have plenty of time on their hands…

  • Roland : “Yes a handful of Brexiteers will get upset and might protest for a few days”.
    I think that is a bit optimistic as they argued and held their party leaders to ransom for 40 years when they lost the first referendum. I don’t think Theresa May would dare withdraw the Article 50 notice unless no deal was still the default on the day before we leave and, in any event, I think she would need parliamentary approval as she did to serve it in the first place. I believe she would need a referendum first, which would entail an extension to Article 50. That is our best hope.

  • Something Dominic Grieve mentioned the other day made my ears prick up.
    Mrs May’s Deal will be a treaty and as such be subject to the CraG act 2010. This requires the treaty to put before both houses for 21 sitting days before ratification. It may be that by the 28th of this month Mrs May’s deal is dead without an extension to article 50, in this respect. Anybody?

  • @P.J. – Given “the deal” will require treaty changes it is also potentially subject to the European Union Act 2011 “referendum lock”…

  • Arnold Kiel 16th Feb '19 - 7:25am

    Simple revocation of the Art. 50 notification is of course the best solution. The people’s vote is a detour required by the limited courage of MPs (and the cowardice and idiocy of many to vote for both, the referendum act and the the Art. 50 notification against their conviction).

    There are increasingly good reasons for them to finally take a courageous leap: it is the only way to stop and reverse the UK bleeding investments and jobs with immediate effect. Sterling would recover 10% overnight, and bring inflation to 0% over 1-2 years. This all adds up to tens of billions of economic recovery and household spending relief.

    Firms implement their hard Brexit offshoring plans now and at an accelerating rate. This would go on during the people’s vote campaign, and cause more irreversible damage. Even if remain won, these companies would not come back: apart from the double cost, the image of the UK as a reliable place to do business will take decades to recover.

    Equally importantly, I find it quite inconceivable for the UK to participate (in the literal sense of the word) in European elections while its membership continues to be in limbo. We know now that the 2016 referendum confronted voters with an ill-defined question for which professional politicians still have no answer 3 years later. Just imagine the national schizophrenia required to deal with the membership question and MEP-elections (for both, the candidates and the voters) simultaneously while continued Brexit-uncertainty compounds a global economic downturn.

  • The video clips I found very impressive. The problem is the agenda is being set by those who want to leave the European Union. Is it now time to face the fact that if the were to be a referendum it would very probably end in approval for just leaving? The reality is that the country is nor really divided in some deep way about the EU. Most people have stressful lives and this is not top of their agenda.
    I would be really pleased if the messages we keep getting from the party dealt with the reality of the European Union. We need to spread a positive message.

  • Peter Martin 16th Feb '19 - 8:41am

    @ Arnold,

    “Sterling would recover 10% overnight………”

    I’m surprised at you making this argument. German politicians have always understood that a high currency was detrimental to their export market. If Germany reverted to the DM it would, almost certainly, have a currency which “recovered” by a lot more than 10% !

    The Swiss and Danes understand the same point too. Both do what they can to prevent their currency becoming too expensive and choking off their export industries. Denmark pegs it currency, the krone, against the euro, keeping it artificially low. This means they have an advantage over British bacon producers, for example.

    It’s probably not a good idea to have the £ so low that we, too, run an export surplus. But nevertheless there’s a case to be made for balancing our trade and that simply won’t happen if the £ is too high.

  • Peter Martin 17th Feb '19 - 8:58am

    I don’t agree with a few things in this article by George Soros but he’s right to look at the bigger picture. Maybe that’s easier from an American perspective. From a UK perspective we still need to take a closer look at just what we may or may not, in the longer term, want to stay a part of, rather than worrying solely about the short term disruptive effects of Brexit.


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