Theresa May By DFID (CC-BY-2.0)

Theresa May By DFID (CC-BY-2.0)

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has changed her mantra from 'her deal or no deal', to 'her deal or no Brexit'.

PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:

Still pushing her doomed deal, the PM gave a speech in Stoke-on-Trent this morning where the message is now becoming: it's either my deal or, if not, the more likely outcome is parliamentary paralysis leading to no Brexit.

She said that there were those in Westminster who would use "every device available to them" in order to "delay, or even stop, Brexit".

Well, I think all of us could have told her that over the last two and a half years – and I also personally include her in that bracket!

In response to her speech, the UKIP leader Gerard Batten said:

"What we are witnessing is the political establishment fighting over their preferred method of stopping Brexit – should it be through Mrs May's surrender document, a General Election or another referendum?

"In their arrogance and contempt for the will of the 17.4 million who voted to leave the European Union, the political establishment have embarrassed the nation in the eyes of the world."

And he went on to say that if you want to leave the EU, there is no choice but to vote for UKIP at every opportunity.

Now, Mrs May will not have made a comment like this in a speech without very careful thought.

Maybe now that she's exhausted all other avenues of support, she's trying a last stab at getting the Brexiteers on board again with the threat that Brexit will be stopped, if they do not support her deal.

But of course all the Remainer MPs will now think 'oh goody' and vote her deal down and they vastly outnumber the Leave supporting MPs. So it probably won't have achieved anything other than haemorrhaging more support.

Also there are many among the MPs who believe that if they vote down the deal today, the Eurocrats will just come up with some amendment to the legal text to the Withdrawal Agreement that puts the Irish Backstop issue to bed.

But getting anything out of the EU on this matter thus far has been like getting blood from a stone and the joint letter from Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker she received today, although full of warm words about the backstop contained nothing obvious to me you could hold up in court.

There is also the matter that, if – well actually when – any backstop issues did arise from this in the years to come, both Tusk and Juncker will be long gone and all that will stand is the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement document.

But this afternoon the PM told the House of Commons in her statement that the Attorney General has written to her today saying that the letter from Tusk and Juncker is legally binding in international law.

But for me, unless the actual text of the Withdrawal Agreement is amended, then surely the Attorney General's original warnings of being permanently stuck in the backstop apply?

But importantly the PM did say that it remains the intention of the government to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019.

Anyway – there goes another one. Tory whip Gareth Jones, the MP for Dartford, has resigned from government because he can't support the Prime Minister's Brexit In Name Only (BRINO) deal.

That brings the total Brexit government casualties to thirteen – unlucky for some.

In his resignation letter Jones wrote:

"I had tried to reconcile my duties as a Whip to assist the Government to implement the European Withdrawal Agreement, with my own personal objection."

And that:

"I have concluded that I cannot, in all conscience, support the Government’s position when it is clear this deal would be detrimental to our nation’s interests."

Coming the day before the expected so-called 'meaningful vote' the resignation of one of the people tasked to try and get it through, must be a bit embarrassing for the PM.

It looks like tomorrow evening's vote is going to be a bit of a landslide defeat for the PM, so all she can hope to do really is limit the damage.

It doesn't matter how badly she loses the vote, she is immune for another 11 months from an internal party challenge, but she might feel compelled to resign. It could also set in chain a vote of no confidence in her government that could force her out.

And it is reported today that Dominic Raab made a speech, which pundits say can only be viewed as a leadership pitch. Maybe the first of many to come from those Tory big-wigs eyeing Number Ten.

An interesting 48 hours to come.

Sources:

https://www.ukip.org/national-ukip-news-item.php?id=155

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-live-updates-theresa-may-vote-no-deal-jeremy-corbyn-eu-second-referendum-conservative-a8726431.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-13/may-travels-to-brexit-heartland-in-last-ditch-bid-to-rescue-deal

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1071841/Brexit-News-Irish-minister-no-deal-EU-Theresa-May

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