Brexit or Bino?

June 15, 2018 | by Field Team

A few days short of two years since the referendum, and finally the biggest decisions on Brexit are finally coming to a head. We are leaving the European Union. Most people accept that. But will it be hard Brexit or what has come to be known as BINO…

Mays Mutineers

A few days short of two years since the referendum, and finally the biggest decisions on Brexit are finally coming to a head.

We are leaving the European Union. Most people accept that. But will it be hard Brexit or what has come to be known as BINO (Brexit In Name Only)? In truth, we are little wiser than we were on that sunny but confusing morning in June 2016.

This week, we should have learnt much more as the Commons voted on several key aspects of the Withdrawal Bill. MPs were confined to their barracks for two days as vote after vote was intended to bottom out some of these questions.

And some of them were, to be fair. EEA membership was rejected, largely because Labour whipped against. And despite the fact that 90 Labour MPs (more than one third of the parliamentary party) rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn’s hard Brexit stance.

But, what about the central question of whether Parliament would have a binding vote on the final Brexit deal? Well, when faced with the choice of hard or soft the Government has opted, yet again, for fudge. Once it became clear that the vote would be lost, the Government promised the Tory rebels that they would bring forward their own amendment to achieve the same goal. Rebellion averted, Prime Minister saved. For a few days at least.

And the Prime Minister is back to the central problem that has faced her since the general election last year. Her Cabinet backs one form of Brexit. And Parliament backs another, much softer, version. Whilst it is the Cabinet that keeps the PM in post, it is Parliament that is our nation’s sovereign body. She has always been between a rock and a hard place. Both of those are closer than they’ve ever been right now.

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